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Ma Long and Chen Meng claim titles at ITTF Finals 2020

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Ma defeated reigning champion Fan Zhendong to claim his sixth singles crown after Chen took it four consecutive titles, beating Wang Manyu.

Reigning Olympic table tennis champion Ma Long and fellow Chinese star Chen Meng took the loot at the end of the season 2020 ITTF Final in Zhengzhou.

Chen won her fourth consecutive women’s title, by defeating Wang Manyu in a replay of last year’s finale.

Then Ma avenged his defeat in last week’s World Cup final Fan Zhendong, winning the decider 11-8, to claim his sixth ITTF Finals men’s singles crown and his first since 2016.

“Maybe there wasn’t as much controversy as last week’s final in Weihai, but every game was very tough. I had a few lucky points and Fan gave his best, but I’m happy with the overall win.” – Ma Long in his interview on the court

The Dragon returns to the top

A week after Fan Zhendong defeated Ma Long in the Men’s World Cup final, the two met again in Zhengzhou.

Ma won the opening match on that occasion and the reigning World Champion and Olympic Champion repeated it here 13-11.

But this time ‘The Dragon’ did not allow the best seed back into the match.

He took the second 11-7 and showed excellent defense to save two game points from 8-10 in the third.

Ma won an incredible rally to go up 11-10 somehow adapted to a Fan forehand that hit the net and then the edge of the tablebefore closing it 12-10.

Fan came back to play the fourth game 11-9, but Ma was not to be denied.

The Rio 2016 singles and gold medalist team won the fifth 11-8 for his sixth ITTF Finals singles and his seventh in total after winning the doubles title in 2006.

Chen goes back to back in Zhengzhou

In the women’s final, Chen Meng started strongly with a 10-5 lead, while Wang Manyu seemed a bit nervous.

Wang saved four game points before an excellent backhand exchange ended and Chen finished 11-9.

Despite dropping the first game, the 21-year-old looked much more confident in the second and soon went 6-2 up front.

Chen came back 9-7, but Wang fought hard and produced one excellent backhand return winner on the cross court to save the game and make it 10-10.

The underdog then converted her second game point, making it 13-11 to even the game.

The third game went to 9-9 in a match of the highest quality.

First Chen, then Wang, wasted game points twice, before a big forehand saw the world’s number one at 14-12.

That proved pivotal when Chen next took the lead, excelling in offense and defense to play the fourth game 11-8 before racing through the decider 11-5 to seal the five-game win, 11-9, 11 -13, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5.

Chen is the first woman to win four consecutive ITTF Finals singles titles and, a fortnight after her first World Cup triumph for women, she looks set to beat the best at Tokyo 2020, eight months later.

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