ITTF Press Release: Ma Long Third Consecutive title and Guo Yan dominated the 2011 Swedish Open – ITTF Pro Tour; each secured victory in exhilarating and clinical fashion in Stockholm.
Ma Long (CHN) bt. Wang Hao (CHN): 11-7, 14-12, 11-6, 11-7
Guo Yan (CHN) bt. Liu Shiwen (CHN): 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4
In the doubles the unseeded men’s pairing of Wang Liqin and Yan An, combined youth and experience with devastating effect. Whilst the top seeded pairing of Guo Yan and Guo Yue justified their top seeded position defeating the second seeded Japanese duo of Hiroko Fujii and Misako Wakamiya.
Wang Liqin/Yan An (CHN) bt. Jiang Tianyi/Tang Peng (HKG)
13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3
Guo Yan/Guo Yue (CHN) bt. Hiroko Fujii/Misako Wakamiya (JPN)
11-7, 11-9, 11-4, 14-16, 11-4
The U21’s finals were an all European affair in the men’s and an Asian battle in the women’s.
Ricardo Walther (GER) bt. Tomas Tregler (CZE) 11-7,11-6,11-7,10-12,11-7
Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN) Ma Eum Song (KOR) 11-6,11-8,11-8,11-7
Three days after his 23rd birthday, China’s Ma Long made it three in a row in the country with three crowns on the national badge. Winning the Men’s Singles title at the Swedish Open gave him his third consecutive ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles title.
In September, he won in Suzhou at the Harmony China Open, whilst one month later in Schwechat, on the outskirts of Vienna, he succeeded at the Austrian Open. At the final stage in Suzhou and Vienna he beat compatriot, Zhang Jike, the reigning World champion; in Stockholm he overcame the previous owner of the coveted title, he beat Wang Hao.
Furthermore, he beat Wang Hao in a most impressive manner, recording a straight games success.
Ma Long won 11-7, 14-12, 11-6, 11-7.
First of Year
A convincing win but it was the first time this year, in international competition, that Ma Long had beaten Wang Hao; they had met twice before their confrontation in Stockholm, on both occasions the verdict had gone in favour of Wang Hao. He won in February in Dubai in the final of the Men�s Singles event at the United Arab Emirates Open and three months later at the semi-final stage in Rotterdam, at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships.
It was for Ma Long his 17th career appearance in an ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles final and the11th time he had won; furthermore, you can add to that number. He appeared in ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in December 2008 in Macao and in the same Special Administrative Area of China in January 2010; on both occasions he won.
Fifth Final of Year
Meanwhile, it was his fifth appearance in an ITTF Pro Men’s Singles final at six attempts in2011. In addition to his recent three wins and his defeat at the hands of Wang Hao in the United Arab Emirates in February, he reached the final in Shenzhen at the Volkswagen China Open and in Doha; whilst at the Qatar Open in February, he progressed to the semi-final stage. At the Qatar Open he was beaten by the eventual winner, his compatriot Xu Xin; whilst at the Volkswagen China Open he lost to Ma Lin.
However, since the defeat at the hands of Ma Lin, Ma Long has been imperious. In addition to his ITTF Pro Tour successes, he won the GAC Motors Asian Cup title in Changsha and when the Men’s World Rankings were announced in early October, he had reclaimed the no.1 spot. The top place secured on the World Rankings and also battened down in Stockholm, where he was in a class of his own.
Not One Game Surrendered
In 1997 at the World Championships in Manchester, Jan-Ove Waldner won the Men’s Singles title without the loss of a single game; in 2011 in Stockholm, Ma Long emulated the legendary Swede. He breathed in the Nordic air that had also filled the lungs of Jan-Ove Waldner and won without the loss of a single game.
A tournament which included every Men’s Singles World champion since 2005 and the reigning Olympic champion, Ma Long gave a stunning performance, one to be remembered.
At the H.I.S. World Championships in Yokohama in 2009, Guo Yan was beaten by Liu Shiwen in the fourth round of the Women’s Singles event; two years later and one round later, she suffered the same fate at the hands of her Chinese National Team colleague at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam.
Furthermore, Guo Yan did suffer, on both occasions she was beaten in four straight games, soundly beaten. However, six months after her reverse in Rotterdam, she turned the tables.
In the final of the Women’s Singles event at the Swedish Open in Stockholm, she beat her younger adversary, in a similar manner to that which she had suffered defeats in two consecutive World Championships.
In an imperious manner, seeded no.1, she overcame Liu Shiwen, the no.4 seed, in four straight games and not one of the games was determined by the minimum two point margin.
Guo Yan won 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4.
A resounding win and more in keeping with previous international encounters between the two players; they have now met on 12 occasions and in addition to the two World Championships victories, Liu Shiwen has only won on two further occasions. She won in January 2009, when the pair met at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Slovenian Open and one month later when the duo crossed swords in the third round at the Qatar Open.
The other seven meetings, prior to the duel in Stockholm have all gone to Guo Yan. In 2007 she won at the Volkswagen Open China, the following year in Qatar; then in 2009 in Kuwait, England and Changsha in the Tournament of Champions.
Earlier this year, Guo Yan won they met in the Women’s Singles semi-finals at the English Open and in the quarter-finals the United Arab Emirates Open.
Stood Test of Time
Victory for Guo Yan and a vote for a player who has stood the test of time; it is now a decade since Guo Yan won her first ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Singles title, she won in Croatia in 2001. The appearance in Stockholm was her 23rd in an ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Singles final and she is changing the tag of being the perpetual runner up to being a winner. The win at the Swedish Open was her seventh title and by adding two wins in the Grand Finals in 2009 and 2010, that number rises to nine from 25 appearances.
Outstanding Record in 2010
However, in 2011 she has now appeared in five ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Singles finals; she was the runner up in England and the United Arab Emirates but on her most recent three appearances she has been the winner. She won at the German Open, the Harmony China Open and now, to complete the year on a high note, she has won in Stockholm; Guo Yan is the 2011 Swedish Open Women’s Singles champion.