ITTF. The 2013 Harmony Open has reached its conclusion with the final battles of the Singles event. Although China was already assured of the title, players gave their best to be recognised as the rightful winners and they were Ma Long and Chen Meng.
Some of the Chinese players may have faltered in the competition but for the world's top two players, Ma Long and Xu Xin, no one has successfully overcame them.
This morning, Ma Long proved that his defeat against Koki Niwa in the Asian Olympic Qualifier was a thing in the past. He swept the Japanese in four straight sets. Meanwhile, Xu Xin, although had a bit of a struggle, overcame Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
In an interview during the competition, Xu Xin revealed that he is actually trying some new techniques in the competition. Could this effect his performance in the finals? Although Xu Xin had some bright spots in the early stage of the match, Ma Long had more control and got the opener.
As the match progressed, Xu Xin was placed in an awkward position as Ma Long was dominating in almost every rally. He was in a 2-0 lead. Amidst the commanding lead of his opponent, Xu Xin still hasn't shown any positive signs. The second seed found himself in an uphill climb in 0-3.
In the fourth set, Xu Xin got the first three points but lost the advantage after allowing Ma Long to catch up. Xu Xin got set point in 11-10 but Ma Long levelled it. For the second time, Xu Xin got the advantage and this time, he succeeded.
With a 3-1 lead, Ma Long was not affected by it. In the fifth set, he ensured a good lead and this time, sealed the match to his favour. Ma Long won the championship title with 11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-13, 11-6.
This morning, Liu Shiwen had to battle it out against the dark horse from Chinese Taipei Cheng I Ching. She completed an impressive sweep and sealed her place into the finals. Meanwhile, the other finalist was Chen Meng who had an easy round with a walk over.
This afternoon, coming from a free round in the semifinals, Chen Meng was full of energy into the arena and quickly gained good control over the table. However, Liu Shiwen managed to get the opening set. After being placed in a difficult position, Liu Shiwen's performance degraded and soon enough, she was in pain and asked for some treatment in the middle of the game.
Despite injury, Liu Shiwen continued to play but her physical condition was in trouble. In order not to cause more problem, Liu Shiwen decided to withdrew. Indeed, Chen Meng defended her title in a rather easier way. Chen Meng scored 9-11, 11-3.
Photo source: CFP / Sina Sports