Ma Long Becomes Most Successful World Tour Grand Finals Player Ever

Lisbon, Dec 13, 2015: After 22 World Tour events in 2015, the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals champions are MA Long and DING Ning, after an action filled event concluded today 13 December in Lisbon, Portugal.

MA Long became the most successful ITTF World Tour Grand Finals player, winning his fourth title in dramatic circumstances in the final match of 2015.

The world champion, who has only lost one match in 2015, had a titanic battle with his team mate, 18 year old FAN Zhendong, in one of the most exciting finals in history. The world number one raced to a 2-0 lead only for FAN Zhendong to win the next three games and looked like he was going to do the unexpected of to beat the world number one. However he was left heartbroken, as MA Long closed out the match 12-10, 12-10, 11-13, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9.

The newly crowned champion stated: “We had a tough match, the feeling wasn’t the best for both of us, and neither of us could lead in the match. I had to just stay calm, as I knew I would have a chance to win the match if I just kept my level high.”

“I am very happy to beat my ex-captain WANG Liqin’s record of World Tour Grand Finals victories. He is a well respected athlete, so I’m happy to have made this history.”

“I wasn’t thinking much about the records, but just played the best I could.”

2015 World Champion DING Ning won her first World Tour Grand Finals, after losing four of her previous finals. Despite being exhausted after a packed year, DING made it fifth time lucky and defeated her team mate CHEN Meng, who earlier beat world number one LIU Shiwen en route to the final.

The 25-year-old was pushed by her younger team mate but her experience that has lead her to two World Championships titles led to her victory: 13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7.

A relieved DING stated after the match: “I have made it to the World Tour Grand Finals Singles final for the past 4 times, but lost all 4, this is my fifth attempt.”

“Before the match, I have a strong desire for victory, and break the ‘curse’. Since I started playing in the ITTF World Tour, every time I qualified for the Grand Finals, I could always reach the final, so I really hoped to win. Now that I have won, I feel really happy about it.”

Masataka MORIZONO & Yuya OSHIMA became the first ever Japanese pair to win the World Tour Grand Finals Men’s Doubles title. In the process, the young Japanese duo broke the hearts of the capacity Portuguese crowd, beating local favorites Tiago APOLONIA &Joao MONTEIRO 11-6, 8-11,13-11, 12-10, 11-8 in a thrilling gold medal match.

The women’s defending champions, 15-year-olds Miu HIRANO & Mima ITO could not make it two doubles victories for Japan, losing to the Chinese pair DING Ning & ZHU Yuling 11-5, 11-3, 11-9, 11-4 in a one sided final.

Yuya OSHIMA added a second gold medal to his collection, by winning the men’s under 21 title. OSHIMA, who had a breakthrough year winning two under 21 events and a senior World Tour event in 2015, beat ZHAI Yujia (DEN) 11-5, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8 to secure the title.

Singapore’s LIN Ye won her second under 21 title by defeating Yui HAMAMOTO (JPN) 12-10, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 in the women’s under 21 final.
The GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour was the year-ending finale to the US$3,000,000 ITTF World Tour, whereby the top 16 singles and 8 doubles pairs qualified through collecting #Race2Lisbon points throughout the 2015 ITTF World Tour.

The GAC 2015 ITTF World Tour is split into three tiers (highest first): Super (6 events), Major (6 events), Challenge (11 events). The higher the series, the more prize money, world ranking points, Race to Lisbon points and higher quality of competition on offer. —- ITTF

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