World table tennis: Ma Long wins third successive title

Ma Long of China etched his name in the list of all-time greats, by winning the singles gold of the ITTF-World table tennis championships for the third successive time.

China's Ma Long celebrates his victory over Sweden's Mattias Falck in the final.   -  AFP Photo

Ma Long of China etched his name in the list of all-time greats, by winning the singles gold of the ITTF-World table tennis championships for the third successive time here on Sunday. He defeated Mattias Falck of Sweden in the final 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5.

Playing his first-ever final, Falck seldom showed any signs of panic. He did provide a glimpse of his prowess briefly in the third game and fourth, but the way the Chinese great has been playing in the Championships, it would have required a gargantuan effort from the Swede to have turned the corner.

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Ma Long now joins the elite club of male paddlers, who have won the Worlds singles for three consecutive times: Victor Barna and China’s Zhuang Zedong being the others. Ma Long, current World No. 11, won the Worlds crown in 2015 (Suzhou), '17 (Dusseldorf) and at Budapest now.

“I think this is a special celebration for me and I just want to enjoy this moment for now. I want to thank my Chinese fans and also foreign fans for their support. I am not only interested in winning this title but I also want to gain your respect,” Ma Long said.

The results (finals):

Men singles: Ma Long (Chn) bt Mattias Falck (Swe) 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5; Women's doubles: Sun Yingsha & Manyu Wang (Chn) bt Hina Hayato & Mima Ito (Jpn) 8-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-3, 12-10, 11-8.