World No.1 paddler Ma Long reaches final in Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 11 (IANS) World No.1 Ma Long overcame a late stumble to beat sixth-ranked Japanese Jun Mizutani 4-2 and made the table tennis men’s singles final at the Olympic Games here on Thursday.

Leading 3-0 on sets, the 27-year-old Ma trailed 4-8 in the fourth set with several extra high-level forehand hits from Mizutani, reports Xinhua.

Nailing three points in a row to narrow the gap to 7-8, Ma seemed confident to launch a comeback to seal the victory, but failed to resist his rival’ s top spin attack and lost it 11-7.

Almost the same process repeated in the following set, which Ma was edged 12-10, but the world championships and World Cup title holder took back control of the game in the sixth and nipped it 11-5 to round up the semi-final clash.

Later on Thursday, Ma’ s fellow Chinese Zhang Jike, the Grand Slam winner and defending champion here, will meet 40-year-old Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.

–IANS

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