Ma Long

Ma Long is placed 1st in the men’s world table tennis rankings by ITTF.

In February 2007, in the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open, the 18-year old Ma Long overcame world number 1, Ma Lin, to win his first Men’s singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour. Earlier, in 2004, Ma Long got his first major singles title when he won the World Junior Championships in Wellington, New Zealand. In the same year, he also triumphed in the Asian Youth Championships ATTU-Juniors.

In Yokohama Ma Long won bronze medal in the Men’s Singles event at the H.I.S. World Championships but just over two weeks later in May 2009 at the Cheng Shin Tire 22nd Asian Cup, it was the gold for him. In the 2009 Danish Open, Ma Long won his fifth singles title on the ITTF Pro Tour. He defeated Germany’s, Dimitrij Ovtcharov in seven games.

In the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open in 2007, Ma Long defeated world number 3, Wang Liqin, in a 6-game match in the semifinals. Ma Long won 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 3-11, and 11-9. His attacking game put Wang Liqin on the defensive most of the time. In the finals, Ma Long was facing Ma Lin. Only the previous week, Ma Lin had beaten Ma Long at the Liebherr Qatar Open in a 5-game match in their first ever meeting. Hence, the advantage was with Ma Lin. In the opening game, Ma Long attacked with full vigor to seize the advantage and established an early lead of 7-2. He secured the game at 11-3. Ma Lin countered in the second game for a lead of 7-3. He executed powerful forehand topspin strokes to take the second game at 11-4. Ma Lin continued in the same forehand topspin overdrive for a 6-0 lead in the third game. He went on playing strongly to finish the game at 11-5. Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus ended the reign of Ma Long as the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open Men’s Singles champion in March 2008. Ma Long regained the Men’s Singles title at the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open in February 2009 beating top seeded compatriot, Wang Hao in the final.

In the fourth game, Ma Long changed his tactics and started serving from the middle of the table to stop the angles being created by Ma Lin. He went ahead with a 9-7 lead and finally won the game 11-8. Now, both were level at 2 games all. Ma Long continued with his backhand serve from the center of the table in the fifth game and also played a few superb forehand topspin strokes for a 6-1 lead. He maintained the tempo and took the game at 11-4. The sixth game witnessed topspin rallies of incredible quality but Ma Long was attacking so much that Ma Lin was put on the defensive. Ma Long went ahead at 8-4 and won the game at 11-6. The teenager had won his first ITTF Pro singles title.

In one of the first major matches at the starting of his career, Ma Long defeated Cho Eon Rae of Korea in the second ITTF World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Kobe. Ma Long stood wide to the backhand to receive serves. He varied his own services and followed them up with fierce forehand topspin attacks. On occasions, Cho Eon Rae just shook his head at the tirade of the strong forehand attacks of Ma Long. Finally, Ma Long won the game 11-7, 11-9, 11-1, and 11-7. At the age of 16, Ma Long was the World Junior Boy’s Singles champion.

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