Table Tennis Men's World Cup: Fan Zhendong wins second consecutive title

China's Fan Zhendong defeats Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 to lift the ITTF Men's World Cup title for the third time.

This is Fan Zhendong's third Men's World Cup title, having won it in 2016 and 2018 earlier.(File Photo)   -  GettyImages

China's Fan Zhendong defeated Tomokazu Harimoto 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 to lift his second consecutive ITTF Men's World Cup title in Chengdu, China, on Sunday.

First seed Zhendong lived up to his billing as he became only the third player in the history of the tournament to successfully defend his title. Only Ma Lin (2003, 2004) and Wang Hao (2007, 2008) have previously won back-to-back World Cups.

Zhendong had to overcome strong resilience from Japanese prodigy Harimoto to win the final. Harimoto started on the front foot by winning the first game 11-9. The World No. 1 Chinese played a dominating second game to pull back level.

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The two players traded game till 2-2 before Zhendong raced ahead to win the next two games and complete his title defence.

Road to the final:

Fan Zhendong defeated two tournament debutants.

Beat Daniel Habesohn (world No. 43, 19th seed) of Austria 11-8,13-11,11-7,11-2 in round of 16.

Beat Timo Boll (world No. 8, 5th seed) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 12-10 in quarterfinals.

Beat Lin Yun-Ju (world No. 10, 7th seed) 11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 in semifinals.

Earlier on Sunday, Lin Yun-Ju clinched the bronze medal by defeating Ma Long 11-4, 13-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4 in the third-place playoff match.

ALSO READ | Sathiyan bows out of Table Tennis Men's World Cup

Earlier in the tournament, G. Sathiyan, India's sole representation in this edition, bowed out in the round of 16. Appearing in his debut World Cup, Sathiyan defeated world No. 22 Simon Gauzy and world No. 24 Jonathan Groth to top the group in the first stage before going down to world No. 8 Timo Boll.

Sathiyan will next be going to Germany for the next 10 days to play a couple of matches in the table tennis league there. Towards December, he will go to Korea and practice with the Korean team before heading to Germany for  practising with the Indian team ahead of the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Portugal in January.