05 Jun 2017

On the morning of Monday 5th June at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf, Ma Long had set the scene with an electrifying performance against his colleague, Xu Xin; he had emerged successful in four straight games (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3).

Immediately, Chinese national team compatriot, Fan Zhendong followed suit; arguably he was even more devastating. The no.2 seed, he beat Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.17 seed, in a most clinical manner (11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Fan Zhendong, safe and secure, the master of putting one more ball on the table than any other player in the world, when all is lost somehow he will scramble the ball back. He asserted his authority on proceedings from the very start of the contest.

True to the best Korean traditions, Lee Sangsu performs his skills in a most athletic and exciting manner but trying to outdo Fan Zhendong in situations when rallies accrue is a mammoth task.

However, Lee Sangsu always gives total commitment; after losing the first game, he established a slender lead at 7-6 in the second. Alas from a Korean perspective he was not able to take advantage of the situation. At 9-all, with neither player able to establish more than a one point advantage, matters were level

Winning the vital points is the crux to success; Fan Zhendong won the next two; he had breathing space.

Relaxed, moving well, playing error free he dominated the third game; whatever Lee Sangsu could do, Fan Zhendoing could do better.

The fourth game was won style, confidence was high; Lee Sangsu was faced with climbing a mountain ten times higher than Everest. He ran out of oxygen in the foothills. Fan Zhendong won the first ten points of the fourth game before deliberately serving into the net.

Lee Sangsu, always the gentleman, always polite, always respectful, smiled in resignation; defeat but a bronze medal exceeded expectations; it had been a successful venture.

Korea and Lee Sangsu could leave Düsseldorf heads held high.

Liebherr 2017 World Championships Fan Zhendong Lee Sangsu

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