MA Long & DING Ning Qualify

Lausanne, Mar 25, 2014: Qualify, MA Long (CHN) and DING Ning (CHN) have won the respective Men’s and Women’s titles at the GAC Honda 2014 Asian Cup, concluded in the city of Wuhan on Saturday, 22 March 2014.

The GAC Honda 2014 Asian Cup is the Asian continental qualification for the Men’s and Women’s ITTF World Cups later in the year, with the top three placed players gaining direct qualification to the prestigious events.

At the Men’s final on Saturday, MA Long beat Chinese National Team compatriot, 17-year-old Fan Zhendong in an enthralling seven games duel (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8). MA Long has now won the title four times, twice as many as his nearest rivals. His past victories were in Sapporo in 2008, Hangzhou in 2009 and Changsha in 2011.

As the current World Champion, ZHANG Jike (CHN), gains direct entry into the ITTF World Cup, and only two players per county can participate, FAN Zhendong misses out on qualification to the LIEBHERR 2014 Men’s World Cup to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany on 24 to 26 October 2014.

In the Women’s final, DING Ning got revenge over LI Xiaoxia, who beat DING on her way to the recent Olympic and World Championships crowns. DING prevailed in six games (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6), to win the Asian Cup for the first time in her career.

Japan’s Jun MITZUTANI secured third place in the Men’s Singles event against Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An (11-5,4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 13-11), while Singapore’s YU Mengyu accounted for DPR Korea’s RI Myong Sun to secure the bronze medal (5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-3).

Apart from FAN Zhendong for reasons explained above, the finalists and bronze medalists are directly qualified for the ITTF World Cups together with the winners of the DHS 2014 Europe Cup, LI Jiao (NED), LIU Jia (AUT), PAVLOVICH Viktoria (BLR), OVTCHAROV Dimitrij (GER), FREITAS Marcos (POR), MAZE Michael (DEN). The DHS 2014 Europe Cup was held in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 7 to 9 February 2014.

All eyes now turn to the third Super Series of the GAC Group 2014 World Tour in Magdeburg, Germany, which starts on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 to Sunday, 30 March 2014. —- ITTF

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