Ma Long of China celebrates in the match against Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan during the semi-finals of ITTF Men's World Cup in Weihai, Shandong Province, China, November 15, 2020. /CFP
World champion Ma Long came from 3-1 down to beat Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan in the ITTF Men's World Cup semi-finals on Sunday, taking revenge for the defeat at the 2019 World Cup.
Ma launched a 5-0 run in the opening set to win at 11-7, but the Japanese teenager rallied back and took the following three straight sets 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.
Using his timeout call to disrupt Harimoto's rhythm in the fifth set, the world champion triumphed 11-8 to bring the match into the sixth set in which he pulled level 11-6.
Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan communicates with his coach during the semi-finals of ITTF Men's World Cup in Weihai, Shandong Province, China, November 15, 2020. /CFP
Building from where he left off, Ma carried his momentum into the decider and nailed the victory 11-4.
"I had expected this would be a tough match, as I lost to the opponent two times before. When I fell behind today, I managed to regain my rhythm," said Ma.
Defending champion Fan Zhendong withstood a little challenge from Jang Woo-jin of South Korea to march into the finals 11-5, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8, securing the champion of the World Cup for China.
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