On the final day of play in Budapest, Chinese Dragon’s Ma Long Sunday defeated Swedish counterpart Mattias Falck with an overwhelming victory (11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9 and 11-5), claiming the men’s singles title for the third time in a row at 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships.
Chinese Dragon poured a 6-2 lead in the opening game and kept the ball low to curb the rival’s attack. The defending champion swiftly took the game 11-5.
In the second game, Mattias Falck started to revive, struggling to establish a 6-5 lead. However, Ma performed aggressively after clawing back four points and forced his opponent into a turnover, securing the second game 11-7.
The Swede stormed a 9-2 run in the third game and resisted Ma’s counter-attacks, ending the game 11-7.
The fourth game witnessed a seesaw battle between two players given a consecutively rising score. Mattias Falck called a time-out with a 9-8 lead in a crucial moment, but it failed to delay Ma Long’s attacking as he nailed three consecutive points to take the game 11-9.
After a 4-1 lead in the fifth game, Ma was clawed back by Mattias’ three points. The unstoppable Ma forced his rival’s several turnovers and changed the game 9-4. The defending champion then took his time-out leading 9-5 and seized the match point. After a deadly turnover by Mattias, Ma secured the decisive game and claimed his third World Championship.
“I think this is a special celebration for me and I just want to enjoy this moment for now. I want to thank my Chinese fans and also foreign fans for their support. I am not only interested in winning this title but I also want to gain respect from you,” Ma thanked his fans following his success.
“…Mattias has improved a lot since last year because we played against each other at Halmstad in 2018. He is a rare player with his style of play, he is strong tactically and mentally and I think he will be our rival in future,” the 30-year-old also praised his final rival after their thrilling battle.
“Ma Long is a clever player, who changes a lot in the match and he has no weaknesses whatsoever. But I will have to improve my tactics and be more aggressive next time I meet him,” said Mattias Falck.
“As a member of the Chinese team, you have to play under pressure because of the records set by our predecessors for us. So for me, I want to continue with the tradition and that is why I tried my best in every tournament,” Ma added.