ITTF The Worlds Best Announced, Ma Long continues in top spot

ITTF News: Ma Long continues in top spot, ITTF Worlds Best Announced

Mens International Table Tennis Federation World Ranking

1 (<<) 2937     MA Long     CHN
2 (3) 2898     ZHANG Jike     CHN
3 (2) 2873     WANG Hao     CHN
4 (<<) 2702     BOLL Timo     GER
5 (8) 2661     XU Xin     CHN
6 (<<) 2658     WANG Liqin     CHN
7 (5) 2627     MA Lin     CHN
8 (7) 2614     MIZUTANI Jun     JPN
9 (10) 2586     JOO Se Hyuk     KOR
10 (12) 2544     OVTCHAROV Dimitrij     GER

Stunning performances in November by Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, France’s Adrien Mattenet and Russia’s Kirill Skachov have given European table tennis a major boost.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov remained unbeaten at the Liebherr World Team Cup in Magdeburg; notably beating Wang Hao in the duel against China.

Similarly Kirill Skachkov excelled by beating Wang Hao’s compatriot, Ma Lin; whilst one week later in Paris it was Adrien Mattenet’s turn to steal the spotlight.

He accounted for both Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Liu Shiwen moves closer but Ding Ning still top
Womens International Table Tennis Federation World Ranking

1 (<<) 3052     DING Ning     CHN
2 (<<) 2977     LI Xiaoxia     CHN
3 (<<) 2930     GUO Yan     CHN
4 (5) 2907     LIU Shiwen     CHN
5 (4) 2841     FENG Tianwei     SIN
6 (<<) 2781     GUO Yue     CHN
7 (<<) 2751     ISHIKAWA Kasumi     JPN
8 (9) 2726     WANG Yuegu     SIN
9 (8) 2683 i     FUKUHARA Ai     JPN
10 (<<) 2615     TIE Yana     HKG

Success for Liu Shiwen over Chinese National Team compatriot, Ding Ning, in the final of the Women’s Singles event at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in London’s ExCel Arena, sees the 20 year old climb one place up the Women’s World Rankings.

She now occupies the no.4 spot.

However, the defeat experienced by Ding Ning has not dislodged her from top place, she remains at no.1 followed by colleagues Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yan.

All three retain their November status.

The winner on both occasions that the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals were staged in Macao; 23 year old Ma Long repeated the success in the ExCel Arena on Sunday 27th November 2011. He beat Zhang Jike in the London final in five games (11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 14-12) to secure the title for the third time in his career. The win now means that Ma Long has equalled the record of his compatriot Wang Liqin; who won in 1998 in Paris, in 2000 in Kobe and in 2004 in Beijing.

Unbeaten for Over 40 Matches

It was a stunning performance and it extended Ma Long’s amazing run of success. Any record of a Ma Long defeat is ancient history!

The last time Ma Long lost a singles match was in the Men’s Singles final at the Volkswagen China Open in Shenzhen in early June when beaten by Ma Lin.

He has gone some 40 singles matches without losing!

Successes

In a period of five months he has won the Men’s Singles titles on the ITTF Pro Tour at the Harmony China Open, the Austrian Open and the Swedish Open; in addition he won the GAC Motors Asian Cup and the Chinese National Championships!

Will he be back in London in 2012 for the OIympic Games to line up alongside Wang Hao and Zhang Jike? Surely that question was answered in the ExCel Arena on the concluding Sunday in November.

Decide the Favourite

Who was the favourite before the contest started?

Was it the World champion or the young man who occupies the no.1 position on the Men’s World Rankings?

Did logic suggest the former or did logic favour the latter; the history books certainly pointed to the latter.

Seven Meetings

Incredibly of the seven previous meetings between Ma Long and Zhang Jike in world ranking events, Ma Long had won six of the encounters.

Zhang Jike had just one win to his name; he beat Ma Long in six games in March 2008, when the pair met at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the Qatar Open in Doha.

Three Wins

The meeting in Doha was the fourth of their careers but when they met again more recently; always Ma Long prevailed.

He won in January 2010 at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Macau and earlier this year he overcame Zhang Jike in the Men’s Singles final at both the Harmony China Open in Suzhou in August and at the Austrian Open one month later in Vienna.

The wins in Suzhou and Vienna were massive confidence boosters for Ma Long.

Honours Even

In the ExCel Arena the early advantage went to Ma Long, he secured the first game.

He was the quicker to attack, the faster to seize the initiative.

However, Zhang Jike, clever at creating angles from the backhand secured the second game

Anticipation and Speed

Incredible reactions and anticipation with the points played a break neck speed saw Ma Long secure the third game.

It was the sheer speed of the play that caught the eye; Ma Long and Zhang Jike represent the new generation. They are faster with their footwork than those who went before.

Certainly players like Ma Lin, Wang Liqin and company were fleet of foot but Ma Long and Zhang Jike have taken the speed needed for high quality table tennis to a new level.

Juggernaut

In the third and fourth games Ma Long was in full flow, his attacking play awesome; he overpowered the stylish Zhang Jike.

Time and again Ma Long seized the opportunity to attack with his dynamite driven forehand early in the rally; Zhang Jike was forced into the passive role.

Time Out

In the fifth game Ma Long went ahead 8-7; Zhang Jike called Time Out.

Zhang Jike won the next point but at 10-8, Ma Long held two match points; Zhang Jike won the next point. Ma Long called Time Out.

Match Points

Incredibly Zhang Jike won the next point; then Ma Long saved one game point before another opportunity at 13-12 came the way of Ma Long, a forehand from Zhang Jike flew long (no pun intended).

It was gold for Ma Long; he was the champion once again.

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