ZHENGZHOU, China, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — Grand Slam winner Ma Long from China beat compatriot Fan Zhendong to win a record-extending sixth ITTF Finals men’s singles title here on Sunday.

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Ma was also the winner of the year-end competition in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016.

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“The record is used to be broken, and I’m honored and lucky that one is me,” said Ma. “It is a well deserved and special championship for me.”

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It was the third straight encounter in the final between the Chinese duo in just over a month, after the National Championships and the World Cup, where Fan both came out as the winner after seven-game thrillers.

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It was clear that Ma didn’t want to repeat his recent inferior head-to-head record to Fan. The Chinese men’s team captain met strong resistance early on but soon hit good form and pocketed the first two games at 13-11 and 11-7.

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Fan began to come back into contention by adjusting his strategy, turning a 4-8 deficit into a 10-8 advantage. However, Ma saved two game points before winning 12-10, leaving little room for Fan’s rally.

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Fan went ahead 9-6 in the fourth game and held two game points again at 10-8. This time, the world No. 1 paddler didn’t waste them, pulling one game back with 11-9.

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Ma didn’t concede his superiority from there, converting his second match point at 11-8 after Fan had a backhand return into the net.

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“The process was not as the result reflected,” admitted Ma. “The score was not so close as that at the World Cup, as we restrained each other quite well. I had better control over some crucial points today.”

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