Ito makes history as Ma lasts the distance

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Ma Long outlasted Zhang Jike in a seven-game thriller to win the German Open, while Mima Ito became the youngest woman to collect an ITTF title by beating Petrissa Solja.

A series of surprises in the women's draw meant the final was contested between two qualifiers in the form of Ito and Solja.

And it was 14-year-old Ito who put her name in the history books in Bremen.

The teenager's 9-11 13-11 7-11 11-7 14-12 12-10 victory was enough for the Japanese to beat the previous benchmark set by Guo Yue of China in 2003.

Top seed Ma produced a rousing comeback to beat Zhang Jike 11-9 7-11 8-11 14-16 11-6 14-12 11-8 in the men's draw.

The top-ranked players at the event safely negotiated their way to the final and Ma grabbed the early initiative, only for world number four Zhang to put himself on the brink of victory.

However, Ma showed the talent and composure that has seen him reach number two in the world to work his way back into the match and, after edging a tight sixth game, ultimately won the decider.

 


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