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Awesome Performance, Once Again Ma Long Strikes Gold in England
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Ma Long irrepressible, the LIEBHERR 2012 Men's World Cup winner  Photo By: Steve Parkin

09/30/2012        LIEBHERR 2012 Men's World Cup (Click here to access this section)

England is the home of Ma Long, once again in the country where the sport of table tennis was born, Ma Long struck gold.

In 2009 he won the English Open Men’s Singles title, in 2011 he succeeded at the ITTF Pro Tour Finals and earlier this year, in August, he won Men’s Team gold at the London Olympic Games.

Some eight weeks after the London triumph, he struck gold once again; in the city of Liverpool on Sunday 30th September 2012, he won the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup title.

Watch interviews: Ma Long and Vladimir Samsonov on itTV.

Sheer Power
Not only did he win the LIEBHERR Men’s World Cup title, he won the title with an awesome display of power.

He beat Germany’s Timo Boll in four straight games (11-4, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9).

Once Again Forehand Not Bad
Following his victory over colleague Zhang Jike in the Men’s Singles final at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Lonon’s ExCeL Arena in late November 2011; he described his forehand as “not bad”.

In Liverpool “not bad” was the understatement of the present century. The forehand was released with machine gun repetition and left Timo Boll nodding in admiration.

Player to Thank
Engineered in discussion with coach Qin Zhijian, the battle plan was prepared but perhaps the person he had to thank the most was Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan; the person, Paul Drinkhall, Michael Maze, Xu Xin and Timo Boll had the least reason to thank as in succession they fell the might of Ma Long!

After losing in four straight games in his second match in the group stage of proceedings, Ma Long never lost a single game!

He won every match in four straight games as he put all adversaries to the sword.

Similar Situation
Ma Long, an unstoppable juggernaut, raced into a two games to nil lead in the final against Timo Boll; it was the same scenario that had faced the German star earlier in the day against Vladimir Samsonov.

He had lost the first two games ; then he had been more active, more positive, quick to attack and had recovered to win four games in row to secure victory.

An Opportunity
Against Ma Long, he started the third game in an active and positive manner; he led 8-7 and had a chance but Ma Long, honing in on his prey, won the next four points, the writing was on the wall.

It was somewhat surprising that when Ma Long levelled at 8-all Timo Boll did not take a “Time Out”; he did not and the writing was on the wall.

Breathing Space
Ma Long now had breathing space, he was confident and doubts were entering the Timo Boll mind; evident in the fact that he made errors returning the service of the champion elect.

Match Points
At 10-7 Ma Long held three match points; Timo Boll won the next point.

Immediately Qin Zhijian was on his feet to call “Time Out”, Timo Boll won the next point but he could not complete the hat-trick.

Ma Long won the next point and celebrated.

Decision Reversed
Success for China but earlier in the proceedings it had been defeat for China.

In the group stage of proceedings Xu Xin had beaten Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus in five games, a comparatively comfortable win; in the bronze medal match, the tables were reversed.

Matched Xu Xin in Rallies
Vladimir Samsonov matched Xu Xin in the rallies, his control was outstanding as Xu Xin made an unusually high number of forehand errors; in five games the 36 year old from Belarus secured victory.

He won in six games (11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-1,6-11, 11-6).

Same Finish as On Debut
It was vladimir Samsonov’s 14th appearance in the tournament; his first was in the French city of Nimes in 1996; he finished in third place, just as in Liverpool, 16 years later.



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