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Ma Long back on top following win over Fan Zhendong in men's singles final

Ma Long back on top following win over Fan Zhendong in men's singles final
Posted at 7:17 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 14:55:02-04

Death, taxes, and Chinese dominance of Olympic table tennis.

In an all-China gold medal match in men's table tennis singles that featured the tournament's top two seeds, Ma Long topped No. 1 Fan Zhendong in six games to defend his gold medal from Rio in 2016.

The match was expected to be a tight one - Fan entered as the best player in the field and Ma's resume is one of the greatest of all time - but when Ma dominated Game 1 and won 11-4, it looked like he was cruising to gold.

Fan responded with an exciting 12-10 win in Game 2, but then dropped Games 3 and 4 to go behind 3-1 and require a miracle in order to turn it around.

It looked like Fan might've been getting one in Game 5, which he dominated 11-3. But it was shortlived.

Ma jumped on Fan early in Game 6 and pushed his lead all the way to 10-6, which gave him four gold medal points to work with. Fan was able to save one, but Ma finished him off with a series of strong backhands that Fan sent into the net.

The gold medal is Ma's fourth of his Olympic career. He finished first in men's singles and men's doubles at Rio 2016 and won men's doubles at London 2012.

It also marks the 30th time in 35 tries that China has won gold in an Olympic table tennis event since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1988.

In the bronze medal match, Dima Ovtcharov (GER) came from behind to defeat Lin Yun Ju (TPE) in seven games.