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World No.1 Ma wins first men's singles world championship

Updated: 2015-05-04 11:13

World No.1 Ma wins first men's singles world championship

Ma Long celebrates after winning the championship, May 3, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

The lead was short-lived. From 2-6, Ma went on a run like always, reeling off next nine of 10 points to take the set.

Fang again started well in the second set with a two-point edge. Ma kept it close and evened it 7-all before Fang had a run of his own, winning the last four points to take the set.

But Fang lost consistency immediately and dropped the third set 4-11.

With 1-2 behind in sets and 5-7 down in the fourth, Fang took a timeout in hopes of arresting Ma's momentum, but Ma pushed the game out of Fang's reach, winning 11-8.

Ma went up 5-2 in the fifth set, shouting for every point, but Fang was not done yet.

The two traded points until Fang won three in a row to give himself a set point at 10-9 but he could not seal it.

At 11-11, the players performed the best rally of the tournament, blasting away shot after shot, and Fang won it, giving himself one more set point which he converted to stay alive.

But Ma was unstoppable in the sixth set as he never looked back after snatching a big lead.

While Zhang Jike, Ma's major rival over years, has completed a career Grand Slam of the world championships, World Cup and Olympic singles titles, Ma still needs an Olympic gold medal to finish his own.

"With the Rio Games one year out, anything could happen," he said. "I think I still have room to improve, I can be much stronger. I must try my best in training and competition. My priority is to get a ticket to Rio."

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