Earlier in the semifinal round, the third seed Zhang Jike ended the hopes of his compatriot Yan An in 4-1 while Ma Long nailed the same score against the only non Chinese player in the round Jun Mizutani. Tonight, the strongest Chinese players in their generation will compete for the Men's Singles title.
Zhang Jike (CHN) 2-4 Ma Long (CHN)
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Both paddlers ushered the match by a tie in 3-3 in the first set. Such incident was repeated as Ma Long and Zhang Jike leveled in every single point. After leveling in 8-8, Ma Long found his opportunity and earned set point advantage in 10-8. Eventually, Ma Long nailed the first set with 11-8.
After experiencing defeat in the first set, Zhang Jike quickly established his lead in 5-1 in the second game. As the set progressed, Zhang Jike maintained his lead in 7-3. However, Ma Long showed resistance as he scored four straight points leading to 7-7. Both players leveled in 9-9 before Zhang Jike gained advantage in 10-9. After which, Zhang Jike successfully earned his first win with a close 11-9.
In the third set, Zhang Jike maintained his control and led in 4-2. Ma Long scored two straight points then leveled in 4-4, then in 6-6. After another tie in 7-7, Zhang Jike gained back his lead in 9-7 which led to set point advantage. Ma Long managed to save three more points leveling in 10-10. After the tie, Ma Long sealed his second win with 12-10.
Zhang Jike started the fourth set very badly giving away the first three points to Ma Long. After which, Zhang Jike managed to narrow the gap in 2-3, then 3-4. At this point, Ma Long gained his momentum and increased his lead to 6-3. However, Zhang Jike discreetly catching up and narrowed the lead in 5-6. After which, Ma Long called for a timeout. As the game resumed, Zhang Jike had an error giving another point for Ma Long. The fourth seed then increased his lead in 10-5. At this point, Zhang Jike managed to save five magnificent points and finally leveled in 10-10. After which, Zhang Jike gave a dose of Ma Long's medicine and overtook in 12-10.
After the level in 2-2, Ma Long quickly nailed his lead in 6-4. Ma Long was doing well in the set and increased his lead to 9-5. Ma Long reached set point advanatge in 10-6. Zhang Jike saved one more point before Ma Long ended the set with 1-7.
In the sixth set, Zhang Jike nailed the first two points but was quikly overtook by Ma Long in 4-2. At this point, Ma Long was having a great time and his momentum was increasing it to 6-3. Upon noticing it, Zhang Jike broke his momentum through a timeout. As the game resumed, Ma Long scored two straight points in 8-3. Eventually, Ma Long ended the match with 11-5, completing the victory for China in the Harmony 2011 China Open in Suzhou.
Photo source: China Open 2011 official weibo account