Fan Zhendong, the World Cup champion, is almost ready for the world finals…

Fan Zhendong, the World Cup champion, is almost ready for the world finals…

Beijing: Fan Zhendong, the World Cup winner, battled hard into the final three games of the men’s singles competition on Friday at the 2020 World Table Tennis Championships China Trials in Shenzhen.

To get to the final three, Fan defeated Lin Gaoyuan 4-2 in the second elimination round. Round-robin play between the final three players will determine the winner, who will receive a prize money of one million yuan (roughly $143,000) and a qualification to the 2020 Busan world championships.

Olympic champions Ma Long and Xu Xin both had to fight hard to win 4-3 in the opening elimination round on Thursday.

Xue Fei, who is 20 years old, put Ma to the test, winning 12-10, 13-15, 7-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, and 11-8. In the sixth game, trailing 2-3, Ma blew a 7-3 lead and signaled a time-out when Xue reversed course to lead 9-8.

The three-time world champion, trailing 5-2 early in the match, won three straight points to force a decider and secure the victory.

“It was really tough to win because we know each other so well.” I spared no effort in any of the seven sets that I was prepared to play,” Ma remarked.

The 22-year-old Zhou Qihao, who easily defeated Zhao Zihao 4-1, will now take on the world No. 3 in the second elimination round.

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