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Table Tennis: Xu, Liu retain titles at World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai

Xu Xin awaits a serve from compatriot Ma Long in a dramatic men’s singles final. Photos: ITTF.

Xu Xin awaits a serve from compatriot Ma Long in a dramatic men’s singles final. Photos: ITTF.

January 13, 2014: World No. 2 Xu Xin beat World No. 1 Ma Long 4-3 (11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5) in an all-Chinese final to win the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai on Sunday.

 

Xu, who turned 24 last week, became only the second player to retain the men’s singles title, having won the last event in Hangzhou in December 2012. Ma won the 2008 and 2009 editions of the tournament, both staged in Macau.

 

Xu’s latest victory concluded with a much tougher final than his first, when the left-hander beat Wang Hao in four straight games.

 

“I think in Hangzhou, Wang Hao was just pleased to reach the final; the tournament followed the Olympic Games,” said Xu of his teammate, who secured silver in the men’s singles and helped China win gold in the team event at London 2012.

 

Xu (in green) against Ma in the final, which the former won 4-3 after an epic battle.

Xu (in green) against Ma in the final, which the former won 4-3 after an epic battle.

“This time was a much tougher contest against Ma Long. I lost to Ma Long in Suzhou, but this time I beat him and I hope I can beat him more often in the future.”
Xu won the first game and led 9-8 in the second, before Ma won 12-10 to draw level. Xu recovered to secure the third game and led 7-4 in the fourth when Ma called a time out. It worked well, the 25-year-old claiming the next five points before winning 11-8.

 

Xu led 5-2 and 8-5 in the fifth before securing the game 11-5 to lead for the third time, but Ma again drew level, racing into a 6-1 lead in the sixth before winning 11-4 to force a seventh and final game.

 

The pair traded blows before Xu established a 5-1 lead, extending it to 9-2 and then held seven match points at 10-3, eventually converting at the third attempt.

 

Ding Ning (left) and Li Xiaoxia won the women’s doubles title.

Ding Ning (left) and Li Xiaoxia retained their women’s doubles title with a 4-0 win over Cheng I-ching and Huang Yi-hua.

China’s Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia won the women’s doubles on Sunday, the top seeds beating Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-ching and Huang Yi-hua 4-0 (11-8, 11-2, 11-1, 11-7).

 

World No. 1 Liu Shiwen won the women’s singles title for a third straight time by beating Ding 4-2 (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-7) on Saturday.

 

“I’m very pleased and honoured now to have won the event three times. Ding Ning and myself are of a similar level. It was a really tough match,” said the 22-year-old Liu, who reached the final after a tough semi against Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus.

 

“It was also a really tough semi-final. She is a very good defender, very good indeed. Usually, I am fine against defensive players but she was very difficult to play against.”

 

World No. 1 Liu Shiwen won her third straight World Tour Grand Finals title.

World No. 1 Liu Shiwen, 22, won her third straight World Tour Grand Finals title.

Singapore’s Gao Ning and Li Hu retained their men’s doubles title on Saturday evening by beating Chinese Taipei duo of Chiang Hung-chieh and Huang Sheng-sheng 4-3 (6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9) to become only the second pair to retain the title since the Grand Finals were inaugurated in 1996.


For more information, visit: www.ittf.com

 

Source: ITTF

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