TABLE TENNIS: Ma keys World Championships sweep (again) for China

Chinese superstar Long Ma, whose name will be etched for a third straight time on the perpetual World Championships trophy (Photo: ITTF/Remy Gros)

The 2019 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships confirmed what most people already knew: China continues as the dominant force in the sport and Long Ma is one of the great men’s champions of all time.

China won all five titles for the ninth time in its history, but for the first time since 2011:

● Long Ma led a 1-3 finish in the men’s Singles and won his third title in a row. Only Victor Barna (HUN: 1932-34) and Zhuang Zedong (CHN: 1961-65) had previously won three titles in a row. Ma’s win was the eighth men’s Singles title in a row for China.

Shiwen Liu led a sweep of all four medals in the women’s Singles. That’s 13 in a row for the Chinese women going back to 1995 and 20 of the last 21 world titles.

● Ma and Chuqin Wang took the men’s Doubles title and Jingkun Liang and Gaoyuan Lin won one of the bronze medals. That’s 13 of the last 14 titles for China in this event.

Yingsha Sun and Manyu Wang won the women’s Doubles crown and Meng Chen and Yuling Zhu claimed one of the bronzes. China has now won 16 straight world titles in this event.

Xin Xu and Liu won the Mixed Doubles and Zhendong Fan and Ning Ding took a bronze. All-Chinese teams won 11 world titles in a row from 1991-2011, but hadn’t won since.

All of this adds up to 12 medals for the Chinese, with Japan next at three. Impressive, and scary; summaries:

ITTF World Championships
Budapest (HUN) ~ 21-28 April 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Singles: 1. Long Ma (CHN); 2. Mattias Falck (SWE); 3. Jingkun Liang (CHN) and Jae-Hyun An (KOR). Semis: Ma d. Liang, 4-1; Falck d. An, 4-3. Final: Ma d. Falck, 4-1.

Men/Doubles: 1. Long Ma/Chuqin Wang (CHN); 2. Ovidiu Ionescu (ROU)/Alvaro Robles (ESP); 3. Tiago Apolonia/Joao Montiero (POR) and Jingkun Liang/Gaoyuan Lin (CHN). Semis: Ma/Wang d. Liang/Lin, 4-0; Ionescu/Robles d. Apolonia/Montiero, 4-3. Final: Ma/Wang d. Ionescu/Robles, 4-1.

Women/Singles: 1. Shiwen Liu (CHN); 2. Meng Chen (CHN); 3. Ning Ding (CHN) and Manyu Wang (CHN). Semis: Chen d. Wang, 4-0; Liu d. Ding, 4-2. Final: Liu d. Chen, 4-2.

Women/Doubles: 1. Yingsha Sun/Manyu Wang (CHN); 2. Hina Hayata/Mima Ito (JPN); 3. Honoka Hashimoto/Hitomi Sato (JPN) and Meng Chen/Yuling Zhu (CHN). Semis: Hayata/Ito d. Hashimoto/Sato, 4-2; Sun/Wang d. Chen/Zhu, 4-3. Final: Sun/Wang d. Hayata/Ito, 4-2.

Mixed Doubles: 1. Xin Xu/Shiwen Liu (CHN); 2. Maharu Yoshimura/Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN); 3. Zhendong Fan/Ning Ding (CHN) and Patrick Franziska/Petrissa Solja (GER). Semis: Xu/Liu d. Fan/Ding, 4-0; Yoshimura/Ishikawa d. Franziska/Solja, 4-1. Final: Xu/Lin d. Yoshimura/Ishikawa, 4-1.