Olympic Champion MA Long continued his long run dominance in international table tennis arena to take the Men’s Singles title for a historic fifth time at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals yesterday, 11 December 2016, to make 2016 a year for him to remember.
In a rematch of the 2015 World Tour Grand Finals Gold medal match against FAN Zhendong, the world number one repeated his success one year ago to defeat his 19-year-old compatriot once again in dominant fashion.
The 2016 ITTF Male Table Tennis Star proved himself to be in unbeatable form, racing to a quick 3-0 lead in an intense final in front of the local crowd. After FAN came back strong to win the next two games and saving 5 match points, MA was not going to let the title slip at the last moment, putting the pressure back on to eventually prevail 4-2 (11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 12-14, 11-9).
“I’m very happy to win my fifth World Tour Grand Finals Singles title. I think I’m in quite a good form during this tournament, especially in the final, I made it through the challenge of FAN Zhendong,” stated the 28-year-old. “I played well at the start but I did not deal with crucial points well enough when I was leading at the middle of the match. But I think it’s good enough to be able to win the match.”
After defending Champion DING Ning withdrew from the tournament due to high fever, world number four ZHU Yuling was China’s only hope for China to retain the Women’s Singles trophy.
Facing Rio 2016 Olympic Team Silver medalist HAN Ying (GER), the World Team Champion was in top shape, giving the German defender no chance to take control over from her in the final fight for Gold, winning 4-0 (11-9, 12-10, 12-10, 11-3) to become the World Tour Grand Final Women’s Singles Champion for the first time.
“I was more or less anxious because this is the first time for me to play in the finals at the Grand Finals. I am eager to win. Luckily, I can still calm down at the crucial point. For me, this match is the accumulation of experience,” shared ZHU after claiming the title. “I have gained a lot in 2016. Winning this tournament at the end of this year is a small step for me. I hope I can play well in the next year. In the new circle of Olympics, I think, no matter what problem I will meet, I will spare no effort to prepare for Tokyo Olympics.”
Japan’s Hina HAYATA who was recently crowned World Junior Team Champion in Cape Town just one week ago, added the Women’s Doubles title & the Under 21 Women’s Singles Champion title to her name from the World Tour Grand Finals today.
Pairing with Yui HAMAMOTO, HAYATA overcame Hong Kong’s DOO Hoi Kem and LEE Ho Ching in six games (11-8, 15-17, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10) to take home the Women’s Doubles title.
In the Men’s Doubles event, Japan’s top seeded pair Masataka MORIZONO and Yuya OSHIMA were unable to repeat the feat by their female counterparts. Despite dominating the match at the start to take the first 2 games, Korean duo JEOUNG Youngsik & LEE Sangsu recovered quickly to win the next four games to seal the final victory 4-2(5-11, 2-11, 12-10. 11-9, 11-7, 11-4).
In the Under 21 events, HAYATA secured her title with a 4-1 (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7) victory to upset DOO. While Chinese Taipei’s LIAO Cheng-Ting who shocked top seeded HO Kwan Kit (HKG) out of the contest for Gold earlier in the tournament, had the match of his career, defeating seconded seeded Yuto MURAMATSU 4-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8) to claim his first World Tour Grand Finals title.