Ma Long Wins 18th World Tour Title in Kuwait

Kuwait, Feb 16, 2015: MA Long (CHN) has won his 18th World Tour title, at the same event he won his first ever World Tour title eight years ago, at the GAC Group 2015 World Tour Kuwait Open.

The world number two’s victory made him the first ever player to win two Kuwait Opens, as well as gaining one win closer to the legendary Vladimir SAMSONOV’s record mark of 25 ITTF World Tour titles.

MA Long was too good for his good friend and the man that he will most likely take over as world number one next month, overcoming XU Xin (CHN) in the final 13-11, 3-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-9 to collect his 18th such title in 28 World Tour finals.

“Today I was feeling in good shape; I know XU Xin has changed the rubber on his racket so he was not at his best today”, said the 26 year old. “The win today for me is another step towards the World Championships, but now I will take a few days off for the Chinese New Year.”

World and Olympic Champion LI Xiaoxia (CHN) got revenge on DING Ning (CHN) for beating her in the 2014 Women’s World Cup Final by defeating her rival 11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5 in the women’s final.

The 27 year old’s victory was her first ever at the Kuwait Open, and her 10th ITTF World Tour title overall.

LI Xiaoxia has not been at her best for the last six months, so this victory will give her a lot of confidence in the lead into the upcoming World Championships: “I’ve not been able to practice for the past few months, I have had a back injury.”

“It’s only a few days ago that I was really able to practice properly; as the tournament progressed, I felt I was playing better and better. Of course I am focused on the World Championships and hope to achieve a good result there.”

Chinese Taipei pair of CHIANG Hung-Chieh & HUANG Sheng-Sheng upset their more fancied Chinese rivals XU Xin and ZHANG Jike to claim the men’s doubles crown 11-8,11-7,3-11,13-11.

The Chinese duo of DING Ning & ZHU Yuling were too good for HAN Ying & Irene IVANCAN from Germany, winning 11-3,11-6,11-9 to become the women’s doubles champions.

Denmark’s ZHAI Yujia & Hong Kong’s DOO Hoi Kem rounded off the medals, by winning the respective men’s& women’s under 21 titles.

There is no rest for the world’s best table tennis players, as they now head straight to Doha for the GAC Group 2015 World Tour Super Series Qatar Open, which starts on Tuesday 17 February until 22 February 2015. —- ITTF

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