by Ian Marshall, Editor
Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen had gradually asserted their authority on proceedings to emerge successful in five games (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4); very much Ma Long and Wang Chuqin did the same, they prevailed by a similar margin against Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles (11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4).
“I think our opponents were very good; they defeated us in our last meeting at the China Open; we prepared very well for the final. We started the game well and this really helped us to finish well. I am very happy with the victory. I must acknowledge that we understood each other more as the competition progressed.” Ma Long
The newcomer to the big stage was Wang Chuqin, who in two weeks’ time will celebrate his 19th birthday but having won both men’s singles and mixed team gold at the Buenos Aires 2019 Youth Olympic Games, he was no stranger to the pressure cooker atmosphere of a major final. Also he had the support of the seasoned 30 year old Ma Long and sitting courtside, Chen Qi, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games men’s doubles gold medallist in harness with Ma Lin.
“I gained a lot from playing the doubles with Ma Long. I learned from his attitude. I enjoyed playing with him because he encouraged me even when I made mistakes, it took my mind away from any mistakes. He also offers advice while playing. I am so excited with this title in my first World Championships and I hope to celebrate it in my own way when I am alone.” Wang Chuqin
Men’s doubles success for Ma Long, for the second time in his career, in 2011 in Rotterdam, he had partnered Xu Xin to gold; overall for China it was their 18th such success since Wang Zhiliang and Zhan Xielin won in 1963 in Prague.
Meanwhile, it was the total opposite for Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles, the first time at such dizzy heights. Most significantly it was the first time at a World Championships when any player from either Romania or Spain had competed in a men’s doubles final; moreover for Spain it was their first medal of any colour in any event at a World Championships.
“They were much better, they controlled the whole match. We had a small chance in the opening game, but it was just slim one.” Alvaro Robles
Furthermore it was the first appearance in any final for European players at a World Championships since 2005 when Germany’s Timo Boll and Christian Süss had finished as silver medallists in Shanghai.
“I dreamed I could achieve a medal at the big Championships but to play in the final of the World Championships was even beyond my dreams. I am so proud of our achievement.” Ovidiu Ionescu
Gold for China, yet another title for Ma Long but for Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles, a performance to defy all odds, partners for only some 10 months since joining forces last May in Shenzhen at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour China Open. A story for their grandchildren.