RESULT: Fan Zhendong 4-3 Ma Long (9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9) FAN WINS THREE IN A ROW!
What a sensational way to conclude a magnificent final we’ve had the privilege of watching here in Weihai! Fan Zhendong has won against Ma Long in probably the best final of a Men’s World Cup in years!
Securing a 4-3 win, the hunger and power from Fan Zhendong saw him win his third consecutive gold medal at the event – his fourth in total, matching Ma Lin. However, this was hardly an easy win for the 23-year-old Chinese world no.1. Ma Long had pushed him to his very limit at 3-3 and 5-5 during the final game – which is where Fan took the all important time out and raced to a 10-7 lead shortly after. With no one giving an inch, Ma prevented two match points but Fan’s bravery saw him attacking Ma’s deep forehand to claim the all important winner – and the trophy!
Fan responds immediately, but cannot prevent decider
Well that was heart-pounding and nail-biting action rolled into seven standalone points! Fan Zhendong suddenly woke up at 1-10 and won the next six points to make the score read 10-7 and push Ma Long into taking a timeout.
That, as it so happens, was the correct decision – halting Fan’s momentum and giving Ma the chance to regroup and win the six game 11-7. Decider here we come!
The Dragon is awake!
There’s a reason why you don’t want to put the Dragon in a corner, because an angry Dragon is daunting! These last two games have showcased the best table tennis we have seen from Ma Long as he has dictated every rally with a much more aggressive display on the backhand.
After taking a 6-0 lead over Fan Zhendong, Ma holds a 10-1 lead going into a certain decider… unless Fan has something to say about that??
Ma pulls one back
Despite Fan Zhendong’s best efforts in blocking Ma Long’s parallel shots, it was the reigning World Champion who managed to win the fifth game 11-7 and lower the deficit to 2-3 in favour of Fan. The speed of the match is increasing, most notably in run of a stunning rallies between these two in the latest game.
The Fan is spinning and how!
Fan Zhendong has taken a mammoth 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6) lead over Ma Long in a supremely confident game for the younger Chinese. It was all about placement from Fan around the table, as his relentless attacks at Ma’s backhand were critical in giving him five game points – only one of which Ma could prevent. Game over – or is there a second comeback for the day on the cards by the Dragon?
Lead for Fan
The momentum has shifted in the favour of the top seed, Fan Zhendong, as he won his second game of the match against Ma Long (11-3). There is a fierceness is his shots now, and Fan is making sure Ma cannot find any room to work around in this final. What can the Dragon do??
Fan returns the favor
As expected, Fan Zhendong moves right back in to the match and levels it up with a 11-8 win. The world no.1 is easing back into his mood and style of play – pushing Ma Long the other way into more of defensive stance. Is that a sign of things to come?
The Dragon roars to start the final!
Ma Long has won the first game of the final against compatriot Fan Zhendong with a delicious forehand winner (11-9). Defending champion Fan is very much still in the match, but looks to be playing slightly defensive against his veteran opponent. Will Ma push on his advantage??
Ready for the final?
The Dishang 2020 Men’s #ITTFWorldCup final has begun between Ma Long and Fan Zhendong – who are you backing for historic piece of glory? Watch the match live here!
“There is a huge difference in performance level from the afternoon match. I made a lot more errors. In the afternoon I played really well against Ma Long and after losing I was quite disappointed. Against Woojin I was still a bit nervous, I think I am still lacking in some areas. In the decider I gave it my all, I wanted to be aggressive and started the attack from the 2-3 balls. Being able to win a medal is still a good achievement, it was not easy winning a single match here but it was still a real pity losing the afternoon match.” Tomokazu Harimoto
RESULT: Tomokazu Harimoto 4-3 Jang Woojin (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 11-5)
Another timeout, and another clinical moment for Tomokazu Harimoto as the silver-medallist from last year has claimed the bronze medal this year. Jang Woojin was defeated in seven games as his teenage Japanese opponent used another timeout – called by Woojin this time – to his advantage. Keeping the rallies short, Harimoto sped through the points and secured a deserved third spot on the podium.
Decider for the bronze
As expected between these two, the match is headed to a decider – Jang Woojin has levelled the score to 3-3 (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 12-14, 11-6) and taken us to the second decider of the day! Tomokazu Harimoto had initially taken the lead at 3-2 but could not stop his Korea Republican opponent from taking this to the seventh game. Who will take the bronze?
Time out but not Harimoto
Now that’s one way to make this interesting! Tomokazu Harimoto takes a very important game (11-9) and then another (11-6) – almost as important as his timeout at 10-9 in the third game which clearly helped him prevent Jang from taking a 3-0 overall lead. At 2-2, the Japanese still stands a chance – or will his opponent come out on top??
And we’re back!
It’s time for the third- fourth place play off here in Weihai, as Jang Woojin has taken the first two games against Tomokazu Harimoto (11-7, 11-7). The Korea Republican is looking to move quicker with his forehand shots, giving no space for the Japanese to move into. Can Harimoto make a return?
Both semi-finals decided, it’s time for a break in play in Weihai. Make sure to join us again from 19.00 local time (GMT+8) with the third place play-off and the final still remaining.
RESULT: Fan Zhendong 4-0 Jang Woojin (11-5, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8)
That is it! Fan is just one win away from defending his title successfully in Weihai. Holding four match points, Fan can’t quite capitalise immediately with Jang earning two points on the bounce. But, the Korean just delayed the inevitable as top seed Fan makes it over the finish line 4-0.
“I thought I performed as I could today and managed the crucial moments well in the 1st and 2nd game. I was also able to keep putting him under pressure in the 3rd when I was behind. If it was 2-1 after the 3rd game, it wouldnt have been that easy. When under pressure, the consideration wasn’t just about how I play but how do I make it difficult for him. When preparing for this match I followed the last game of Ma Long and he really performed well, being able to consolidate his win from a losing position. For me, I just hope to be able to play my best knowing that this would be a very difficult match.” Fan Zhendong
Any way back now?
Fan stretches his advantage to 3-0 and now needs just one more game to close this one out. Jang will be kicking himself for not putting game three on the board in his favour having held two game point opportunities, one of which looked to be an absolute sitter! The game goes to Fan (13-11) and we could now very well be approaching the finishing stages of this one.
Early signs point to defending champion
So far with two games played life is looking very good for Fan, who is yet to be really troubled (11-5, 11-8). However, Jang is giving a good account of himself here and can feel fairly happy with how he has performed. One of the standout players of the event, can the Korean turn this one around?
Who will take the second ticket?
One player through, now it’s time to discover the identity of the second finalist as China’s Fan Zhendong and Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin meet face-to-face.
RESULT: Ma Long 4-3 Tomokazu Harimoto (11-7, 3-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4)
And there we have it, Ma is through to the final following a thrilling seven-game duel with Harimoto.
“I thought I played well today, winning 3 games in a row. Ma Long was more settled than me at 3-1 and I didn’t manage to execute my shots well as I started to get more flustered as I wanted to win. I just tried to push as hard as I could, using my strong suit which was my backhand but he managed to read my first shot down the line and it affected my confidence slightly” Tomokazu Harimoto
Building from where he left off, Ma solidifies his momentum boost to force a decider and isn’t fazed by seeing his Japanese counterpart ahead early in game seven. Harimoto opts for a time out halfway through the game to try and gather some composure but to no avail as Ma successfully completes a wonderful comeback victory!
Time out call works a charm
Another fine effort from Harimoto in game four (11-8) really starts to turn up the heat in this one with Ma looking the less comfortable of the two at the table. However, trailing 5-4 in game five, Ma makes use of his time out call to disrupt Harimoto’s rhythm and it works to great effect as the Chinese player ends up prevailing (11-8) to reduce the overall deficit to one.
Relentless Harimoto takes the lead
Wow! What an incredible match we are being treated to here with so much quality coming from both ends of the table. Attacking table tennis at its finest, Harimoto has put a disappointing start behind him and has just been relentless ever since. Games two and three prove comfortable victories for last year’s runner up (11-3, 11-6) – where does Ma go from here?
Game one goes to Chinese superstar
Ma strikes first here in what is already turning out to be a thrilling match-up with both players showing their class. The initial signs look promising for Harimoto who races into a deserved 5-2 lead but the Japanese teenager can’t prevent a barn-storming response from his opponent as Ma lays claim to game one (11-7).
First finalist to be decided
It’s time for the first contest of the day as 2019 Men’s World Cup runner up Tomokazu Harimoto takes on World champion Ma Long. Last year, Harimoto beat Ma at this very stage of the competition – who will take the plaudits this time around?
⚔️🔥 THE REMATCH 🔥⚔️
🇯🇵Tomokazu Harimoto vs Ma Long🇨🇳
Who will reach the FINAL of the Dishang 2020 Men’s #ITTFWorldCup❓
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What’s coming your way?
The final day of action has arrived, here’s a look ahead to the day’s fixture line-up:
Welcome to the final day of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup, live from Weihai.
Just four players remain in the race for glory with semi-final and third place play-off action preceding the all important title match.