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Korea’s defensive aces – 32 year-old Kim Kyung Ah and 27 year-old Park Mi Young won their sixth Ladies Doubles Pro Tour title beating China’s Guo Yan and Cheng Chenchen in a classic battle of attack versus defence table tennis. There was never much to choose between two evenly matched pairs and in a match that lasted 75 minutes it was the Korean girls whose determination, concentration and commitment will have inspired everyone present who won four consecutive points from 5-5 in the seventh end to eventually win 8-11, 11-3, 11-13, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6.

Wang Liqin, three times World Singles Champion and one of the Sport’s greatest ever players claimed his second English Open title eight years after his Singles win in Chatham in 2001. But, he and his partner World no. two – Ma Long ( at 20 years of age, already a winner of an incredible 14 Pro Tour titles) had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Jun Muzutani, one of the rising stars of Word table tennis and Seiya Kishikawa, the surprise package of this Tournament. The Japanese stars, the leaders of the Doubles Competition in the ITTF Pro Tour started better, before the Chinese players hit back. Hard. With Jun Muzutani urging his opponent on the Japanese pair edged a “do-or-die” sixth end 11—9, but there was to be no fairytale ending. Wang Liqin and Ma Long ran out 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6 winners.

Image: Kim Kyung Ah/Park Mi Young

Steve Kerns