2015 Men’s World Cup: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered; Swift Victory for Ma Long in Halmstad
Courtesy of ITTF
“Veni, Vidi, Vici”, like Julius Caesar after victory in 46 BC at the Battle of Zela; for Ma Long at the Liebherr 2015 Men’s World Cup in the Swedish town of Halmstad, it was “I came, I saw, I conquered”.
History records a fast decisive conquest for the Roman general; it was the same for the reigning World champion, he was intent on adding the Liebherr Men’s World Cup title to his list of triumphs.
Occupying the top seeded position in the draw, in four straight games he beat compatriot, Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8) to don the crown for the second time in his career.
The one previous occasion was three years ago, again in a west coast city.
In Liverpool, England, he beat Germany’s Timo Boll to secure the top prize.
Third Place Again
Success for Ma Long came after Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.3 seed, had beaten Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.4 seed in a six games duel (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9) to reserve the third step of the podium.
Again like Ma Long, it was a second time; he finished in third place in 2013 in the Belgian town of Verviers when beaten by China’s Xu Xin in the semi-finals, prior to overcoming compatriot Timo Boll to clinch bronze.
Liking for Sweden
“I am really pleased with how I played here, I feel I played really well”, said Ma Long. “Also, I like Sweden, I won here in 2011.”
Four years ago Ma Long won the Men’s Singles title at the Swedish Open beating compatriot Wang Hao in the final.
“This is my best year in terms of achievement”, added Ma Long. “I won in Suzhou at the World Championships; that gave me both great confidence and of course a great deal of happiness.”
Most certainly it was a very confident and single-minded Ma Long who played at a level higher than when he won in Liverpool.
“In England I lost a match in the group”, explained Ma Long who had been beaten in the group stage of proceedings by Chuang Chih-Yuan.
“Here in Halmstad I think the achievement was much greater”, emphasized Ma Long. “I went through the whole tournament unbeaten.”
Fourth Place Again
Success for Ma Long, alas for Jun Mizutani once again a podium finish proved elusive; for the fourth time in five Men’s World Cup appearances it was fourth place.
In 2010, 2011 and 2014 he finished just one spot short; in 2015 it was same again.
“It was a great match against Jun, really difficult, long rallies”, said Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “I’m really tired, since the start of the European Championships I’ve played 18 matches; I now need two days to recuperate before I play in the Polish Open.”
A total of 18 matches and only one defeat; that being at the hands of Ma Long earlier in the day, losing to the champion elect was no disgrace whatsoever.
“The gap between China and the rest, China and Europe is bigger than I thought”, admitted Dimitrij Ovtcharov. “Today Ma Long was better than me at the start, middle and end of the match.”
Physically on Limit
It was a view with which Jörg Rosskopf, the German National Coach who has advised Dimitrij Ovtcharov throughout the tournament, agreed.
“Ma Long was quite incredible this morning; he was so fast, so quick”, said Jörg Rosskopf. “However, I am very pleased with Dimitrij’s performance; he has played so matches recently and here he has played well, even though physically he was on the very limit.”
It was a tired Dimitrij Ovtcharov who departed Halmstad but he left with great credit, as did Ma Long, simply outstanding, stunning; the Liebherr 2015 Men’s World Cup champion.
A triumph, veni, vidi, vici.
Quotes of the Day
Liebherr 2015 Men’s World Cup: Quotes of the Day – Sunday October 18th
2015 Men’s World Cup Highlights:
MA Long vs FAN Zhendong (Final)
2015 Men’s World Cup Highlights:
OVTCHAROV Dimitrij vs MIZUTANI Jun (3rd place match)