Before entering into the finals, Ma Long survived the challenge from his compatriot Xu Xin in seven sets while Zhang Jike demonstrated wonderful control as he swept the Olympic champion Ma Lin. As a result, the new world champion Zhang Jike had to face his nemesis Ma Long in the finals.
Zhang Jike 3 - 4 Ma Long
Video kindly shared by ttCountenance
Ma Long ushered the match with a 4-1 lead in the first set while Zhang Jike started slow. Ma Long established his lead further in 8-2. Eventually, Ma Long was in great form as he nailed the first advantage with an impressive 11-3.
After a devastating defeat in the first set, Zhang Jike quickly established his lead in 4-1. As the set progressed, Zhang Jike maintained a good position and led in 9-4. Eventually, Zhang Jike made the game more exciting as he reached set point advantage in 10-5 then finally leveling in 1-1 with 11-5.
In the third set, Ma Long set the pace as he posted a 6-1 lead. Just as Zhang Jike narrowed his deficit in 4-6, Ma Long went further away in 8-4. Towards the end, Zhang Jike showed resistance at this point but Ma Long, for the second time reached set point advantage with 10-7. Zhang Jike saved one more set point before Ma Long earned his second point with 11-8.
After being down in 1-2, Zhang Jike found his control and led in 6-2. Just as Zhang Jike increased his lead further in 8-3, Ma Long crawled his way to 5-8. Despite Ma Long's efforts, Zhang Jike gained set point advantage with 10-6 which eventually led to his second point with 11-6.
Zhang Jike opened the fifth set with 3-1 which was quickly leveled by Ma Long in 3-3. After the tie, both players continued to show strength and were leveled once more in 6-6. After the tie, Ma Long went straight to set point in 10-6. Just as Zhang Jike managed to score two more points, Ma Long called for a timeout. As the game resumed, Zhang Jike earned one more point in 9-10 but eventually lost the opportunity with an error in 9-11.
At this point, Ma Long was now leading in 3-2 overall score. Zhang Jike posted a 4-2 advantage in the sixth set which was increased further in 7-4. At this crucial point in the match for Zhang Jike, the new world champion gained momentum and led in 9-4. Zhang Jike forced a full seven match with 11-4.
At the start of the last and deciding set, Ma Long got even stronger and scored the first three points. After Zhang Jike scored his first point, Ma Long maintained his lead in 4-1. Zhang Jike scored two straight points in 3-4. After Ma Long scored 5-3, Zhang Jike called for a timeout with the intention of breaking the momentum of Ma Long.
As the match resumed, Ma Long scored another point in 6-3. Just as Zhang Jike scored two more points in 5-6, Ma Long earned another one in 7-5. At this point, tension was all over the place with 8-6 in favor of Ma Long. The second in the world Ma Long reached match point advantage in 10-6. Zhang Jike created drama in the match as he saved four more points, leveling in 10-10. After the tie, Ma Long and Zhang Jike leveled in three more match points before Ma Long overcame the new world champion in 15-13.
Photo source: shanxingwang.blogspot.com