Disappointed after loss, world champ Long skips interview

Xinxiang: Olympic and world champion Ma Long failed to make the men’s singles final after losing in seven sets to Zhou Qihao here at the Chinese table tennis Olympic simulation on Thursday. He was so upset after the loss that he refused a mixed zone interview.

The 32-year-old former world No. 1 tried to launch a late comeback from two sets down, but wasted an 8-4 lead after forcing a decisive seventh set and stumbled to the eventual loss 11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 14-12, 4-11, 11-8.

Ma seemed extremely upset and left the court immediately, refusing a mixed zone interview request, reports Xinhua.

Both men’s and women’s singles top-seeded paddlers have made it to the finals with hard-fought victories.

World No. 1 men’s player Fan Zhendong found that it is not over even if you are 2-0 up on sets against fellow Chinese players.

The 24-year-old, who’s still looking for a big title like Olympic gold or world championships, needed six sets to beat world No. 14 Wang Chuqin 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8.

“My quarter-final victory last night also came after a 2-0 lead. Things then got harsh and complicated for me,” Fan said as he recalled his 4-2 win over 16-year-old Lin Shidong on Wednesday.

“When it exposes so many problems in my own play, the competition is no longer a simulation to me. But a very serious event,” said Fan, who is expecting to make an Olympic debut in less than 80 days in Tokyo.

Earlier in the morning, the women’s singles top seed Chen Meng denied a fourth set comeback from world No. 6 Zhu Yuling, wrapping up the match 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 to reach the final.