DOHA: Ma Long on Saturday evening showed why he is extremely highly-rated and adored as a star after he fought back to beat top seed Xu Xin in the men’s singles semifinal at the ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open.
The “Chinese Dragon”, as Ma is fondly called by his fans, overcame the blip in concentration after losing the opening game to beat compatriot Xu 14-12, 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 6-11.
The victory here would certainly boost Ma’s confidence for next month’s World Championships in Budapest (Hungary) and 2020 Olympic Games, where he will defend the crowns.
It was a perfect return for the reigning Olympic and world champions following a seven-month lay-off due to injury.
Missing action for long meant that Ma slipped from the world ranking, where he lost his number one status. But the 30-year-old, who has won the Qatar Open thrice, would be eyeing his fourth title that would help him gain him valuable points.
Hong Kong duo win men’s doubles crown
Hong Kong duo of Kwan Kit Ho and Chun Ting Wong beat Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 to win the men’s doubles title.
Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu of China, seeded second in the tournament, bagged the women’s doubles after the getting the better of compatriots and qualifiers Ding Ning and Wang Yidi 12-14, 16-14, 11-6, 11-13, 11-4.