The world number one faced off 20-year-old FAN Zhendong (CHN), ranked second in the World, in the final battle for Gold.
Both parties were determined to pursue after the prestigious title, pulling off amazing rallies and shots to take the lead in the game. After FAN took the first game, MA quickly recovered to win the next two games in dominant fashion to lead 3-1.
Making his first Gold medal match appearance here in Düsseldorf, FAN wasn’t going to give up without a fight. The 2016 Men’s World Cup fought his way back into the back, pushing MA into a seventh game. MA eventually won 4-3 (7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 7-11, 12-10) by a narrowest two-point margin to retain his title.
“I am so happy to win, at the same time I am so tired. I hope this match will be remembered by everyone in the history of table tennis; this is the definitely the craziest match I have ever played and will ever play, I think I have never played like this before. I feel very happy to win, I feel I was a bit lucky this time,” stated a relieved MA after winning the match.
The 28-year-old added “I feel sorry for FAN Zhendong, but the future belongs to him. Mentally I was not certain on how to prepare for the match, so I consulted Coach LIU Guoliang. I thank him for his guidance and tolerance. I would also like to especially thank ZHANG Jike because of his achievements, I really look up to him and he is my role model, I have learned a lot from his game.”
In an all-Chinese Women’s Doubles final, reigning Olympic Champion DING Ning finally took home the title on her fifth attempt, with world number two LIU Shiwen, beating compatriots CHEN Meng & ZHU Yuling 4-3 (9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9).
The three-time World Champion DING stated after her doubles victory “This is my fifth appearance in the Women’s Doubles final. This time, I finally won the title! I’m really thankful to my partner, she’s always encouraging me on the court.”
LIU added “I’m very excited to defend this title because it’s my first Doubles World Championships title with DING Ning! I’m also very happy for DING Ning, it’s a fantastic moment for both of us!”
With the conclusion of the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships, the world’s best table tennis players will head to Tokyo, Japan for the Seamaster 2017 World Tour Platinum, Japan Open from 16-18 June 2017.
Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships Winners:
Men’s Singles: MA Long (CHN)
Women’s Singles: DING Ning (CHN)
Men’s Doubles: FAN Zhendong / XU Xin (CHN)
Women’s Doubles: DING Ning / LIU Shiwen (CHN)
Mixed Doubles: Kasumi ISHIKAWA / Maharu YOSHIMURA (JPN)