China’s 21 year Ma Long won the Men’s Singles title at the German Open in Berlin on Sunday 21st March 2010 beating Chinese national team compatriot, Wang Hao, at the final hurdle, in a contest between the two players who occupy first and second places respectively on the ITTF Men’s World Rankings.
It was the 13th time that Ma Long had appeared in a Men’s Singles final on the ITTF Pro Tour and he maintained his very high conversion record of successes.
In Berlin he succeeded in five games; he won 15-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7.
The first game saw both players have their chances to take an early lead but it was Ma Long who seized the chance.
He won the game 15-13.
A close victory, confidence grows and are on full flow; it was not to be the case in the second game. It was the reverse. Wang Hao won the first five points before Ma Long troubled the scorers.
It seemed that Wang Hao was going to run away with matters; it was not to be the case, Ma Long re-grouped, he levelled at 7-all and then went ahead 8-7. It was at that stage that Wang Hao regrouped.
Attacking consistently, especially from the backhand, he won four points in a row to secure the game. It was parity.
A lightning start by Wang Hao in the second game and in the third game it was Ma Long who made the faster start.
He won the first three points and maintained his lead at 10-6 as he forced Wang Hao back from the table; at the second opportunity he converted the game point.
Winning the third game had given Ma Long a major boost, in the fourth game he was dynamic, positive from the very first point.
He gave Wang Hao minimal time to react; he was the quicker to attack. Words synonymous with “got it” greeted every success as he built a commanding lead.
The forehand was in top gear as he established a 10-3 lead; Wang Hao saved three match points as perhaps Ma Long suffered from a bout of over confidence. However, soon body, mind and soul were together, he won the next point and held a two games advantage.
In the zone, determined and brimful of confidence Ma Long won the first five points of the fifth game.
Wang Hao called “Time Out”, the contest was slipping away from Wang Hao faster than water descending the Niagara Falls.
The crowd tried to lift Wang Hao but Ma Long was not to be denied; Wang Hao reduced the deficit to 6-2, Ma Long called “Time Out”, collected his thoughts, continued with the cry of “got it” and moved ahead 9-6, Wang Hao having reduced the deficit to 8-6.
At 10-7 Ma Long held match point, an errant forehand from Wang Hao, the ball flew long and the contest was over. It was gold for Ma Long.
In so doing he moved one place closer to narrowing the gap in contests against Wang Hao in world ranking events.
The confrontation in Berlin was the 18th time to two had faced each other in world ranking events with the overall balance of power being in favour of Wang Hao.
He had won 11 of their 17 previous duels; however, the more pertinent point was that of the most recent six meetings, Ma Long had won five times; the one to go astray being arguably to most important.
In May 2009 he was beaten in five games by Wang Hao in their semi-final duel at the H.I.S. World Championships in Yokohama.
However, their most recent encounter had gone his way, later in the same month he won in seven games in the final of the Asian Cup.
In Berlin, he won again.