China’s Ma, Xu power into ITTF Finals last eight

ZHENGZHOU, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese star paddlers Ma Long and Xu Xin proved too strong for their opponents in advancing to the ITTF Finals quarterfinals here on Thursday.

Grand Slam winner Ma escaped from a hard-fought battle in the first game against Patrick Franziska, Germanyby, winning 12-10, before dominating the next three games 11-1, 11-6, 11-4 in 32 minutes of play.

“The first game was crucial. We were not quite familiar with each other, thus making it a tough battle,” said Ma.

Ma expressed his gratitude to the crowd for returning to the venue and cheering for players.

“It encourages us to cherish the chance and feedback with our best play,” he commented.

Xu went through a similar process as Ma, being pushed hard by Quadri Aruna of Nigeria in the opening game while coming out 12-10 and fully unleashing his forehand power for 11-8, 11-6 and 11-5 in the following three games.

It was the first match that Xu played since the ITTF’s #RESTART series kicked off in China this month.

“As I haven’t played international matches for a long time, I was a little nervous before the match,” admitted Xu, adding that winning the first two games was important to his victory.

Xu will play either Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei or Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany in quarterfinals.

“I hope to pace the match instead of getting into their rhythm,” Xu said.

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