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Zhang Jike, Ma Long set to meet in semis at China Open

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-18 14:18 Comments

Zhang Jike, Ma Long set to meet in semis at China Open

Zhang Jike of China competes during the first round of men's singles in the ITTF World Tour China Open, Chengdu, China on Sept 16, 2016. [Photo/IC] 

CHENGDU - Two men's Grand Slam winners Ma Long and Zhang Jike booked an eye-catching semifinal matchup after getting past Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Ho Kwan Kit of Hong Kong, China respectively in the ITTF World Tour China Open in Chengdu on Saturday.

However, the two Chinese stars took on totally different winning paths. Ma beat 40-year-old Samsonov, who finished fourth at Rio Olympic Games, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

"We played to ourselves. We both had some adjustments after the Olympics. He came here from Europe, maybe he was a little unfamiliar with this table, also facing the jet leg," said Ma.

Zhang resisted the challenge from under-21 titleholder Ho to win at 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 3-11, 11-3.

"He has showed much potential. We once played in the same club, so he was quite familiar with my style. Playing three matches today, I was physically affected, especially being dragged into the decisive game after leading 3-1 due to lack of concentration," said Zhang.

"Hoping that both of us can put on a show for these enthusiastic crowds," Ma talked about Sunday's semifinal between the two Olympic singles gold medallists.

Penholder Xu Xin failed to secure the men's singles champion for the Chinese team after losing to Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong, China 4-3. Wong will meet world No. 2 Fan Zhendong, who beat Zhou Yu 4-2 in an all-Chinese quarterfinal.

"We face four or five times each year. I sort of lost my patience on the court, especially owning a big lead in two games," said Xu.

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