17 Jun 2017

Ma Long and Xu Xin booked places in the semi finals of the Men's Singles at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open in Tokyo on Saturday 17th June,

by Wade Townsend

China’s Ma Long saw off the unique stylings of Koki Niwa, winning 4-1 (11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3).

The match got of to a close start, with Ma narrowly taking the lead in each game. Niwa finally made a dent in Ma’s armour when he took the third game; but it simply released the dragon.

Ma Long step things up a gear and powered through his opponent. Despite the fangirls screaming “Niwa fighto”, he kept coming up short. By the end of the match Niwa had resorted to some experimental shot making in search of points, but without success. He will have to go back to research and development before their next encounter.

Ma Long recognised his opponent’s special approach to the game.

“Niwa’s level has improved a lot over the past two years, making it to the top 8 at the Olympic Games and at the World Championships. His playing style is more freestyle, that’s something unique about his play.” Ma Long

Ma Long will face colleague Xu Xin in the semi-final. Xu was gifted a place in the semi final, with Fang Bo, also from China, retiring with a wrist injury.

Breaking News: Fang Bo withdraws from 2017 #ITTFWorldTour LION Japan Open due to wrist injury! #GetWellSoon

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World Tour 2017 Seamaster Japan Open ma long xu xin Koki Niwa Fang Bo

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