World No.1 Ma wins first men's singles world championship
Updated: 2015-05-04 11:13
Ma Long reacts as he scores during the final game of men's singles world table tennis tournaments in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, May 3, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
SUZHOU, China -- World No. 1 Ma Long from China won his first men's singles world table tennis championship as he defeated teammate and giant-killer Fang Bo 4-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4) on Sunday.
Ma, who was stopped at the semifinals three times in 2009, 2011 and 2013 tournaments, finally seized the best possible chance to get past unknown Fang for the most coveted crown at these championships.
"It's like a dream come true. After all these days sometimes it was like a torture because I had about seven matches in six days. At the end of the day I think all the torture was worth it," said Ma.
Ma is the 11th world men's singles champion from China, which has won the event 17 times with Zhuang Zedong and Wang Liqin most titled with three each.
Fang could leave with his head held high as the world No. 14 was a true dark horse who stunned world No. 2 Xu Xin in the fourth round and then the twice defending champion Zhang Jike in the semifinals.
"I told Ma Long many times in Beijing that we would like to meet in the final and it came true," said Fang, who has been troubled with injuries through years.
The 23-year-old Fang managed to steal two sets and produce some dicey moments in others while playing against the 26-year-old Ma.
But a much more experienced Ma could always raise his game much above the level and pulled away when it counted.
"Fang played a very tough game tonight. I was fully prepared for the final since he defeated Zhang Jike in the semis. It's not easy to play against him but I can always stay calm during the match," Ma said of the match.
Fang got off to a great start in the first set, building a four-point lead and looking like he wasn't going to be intimidated by the pre-tournament favorite.