07 Sep 2017

The World no.1 Ma Long has become the first player in history to defend the Men's Singles title at the China National Games.

by Amy Ding & Wade Townsend

Once again the world no.1 has done it. Ma Long defeated the world no.2 Fan Zhendong to claim the Men’s Singles title at China National Games on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at Tianjin Olympic Center.

In what was a repeat of the final four years ago, Ma defeated Fan 4-2 for top place on the podium at the 13th National Games.

The win makes Ma the first male player to successfully defend the singles title at the Games.

“I won the title four years ago, but every step is not easy. I still want to do my best to welcome the victory. When I lose my strong desire to win, that’s probably when I will retire from table tennis. But now I still love to win, so I will do my best in every match in return for those who love and support me.” Ma Long

The 20 year-old Fan sent congratulations to the colleague Ma before recalling the game.

“I felt a lot of regret losing to Ma Long four years ago,” said Fan. “This time, I came with full preparation and really eager to win the title. It is a pity that I lost again.

“The final today was very enthralling. I myself did not perform well at the beginning of each set from the fourth game. Once falling behind, I became more conservative and more careful about dealing with every point. There is a lot for me to review and to learn from this match.”

World no.3 Xu Xin was forced to pull out of the semi-final due to the injury, meaning the 17 year-old rising star Wang Chuqin took the bronze medal uncontested.

Ma Long has stunned even himself with his historic win in Tianjin. (Photo: Gennaro Bozza)
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