World Table Tennis Championship: Ma Long sails into 3rd round to set up Samsonov clash
At the ongoing Table Tennis World Championships in Budapest, Chinese ace Ma Long defeated 18-year-old American Kanak Jha 4-1 to advance to the third round on Tuesday.
It was a tough first set for the 2017 winner as his 18-year-old rival showed some promise early in the game. Jha went on to win the first game 11-8 with a nicely timed backhand.
Ma, however, found his rhythm in the second and the Grand Slam champ romped into the lead from the word go to win the second 11-6 before capturing the third 11-7.
The fourth game saw some stiff resistance by Jha but the defending champion was able to hold on to his slender lead and won the closely-fought game 14-12. Ma was at his demolishing best in the fifth as he pocketed the game 11-6 as well as the match to set up a third-round clash with 43-year-old Belarusian legend Vladimir Samsonov.
Ma said after his victory, “I had never played against him before but I watched his match footage and I had practiced with him. He is a strong player with a unique style. I came here fully prepared. I was 3-0 ahead in the first game but later I made some unforced errors which gave him a chance. After the first game, I played better.”
Top seed Fan Zhendong eliminated Portugal's Joao Monteiro 4-0 to join Xu Xin and Lin Gaoyuan of China in the third round.
Meanwhile, in the women's singles, China's Ding Ning made easy work of Luxembourg's Sarah De Nutte but not without a few jitters. The world number one eventually won 4-1 and will face Puerto Rico's Adrina Diaz in the next round.
Later, De Nutte lost with teammate Ni Xialian in the women's doubles against the Chinese duo of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, who won the first game 11-3 and took the second 11-6.
The fourth-seeded pair continued their momentum to bag the third 111-5 and also the fourth 11-5 to snatch the match. The duo will face Li Qian and Li Jie in round 3.