China's players and coach Liu Guozheng (2nd L) celebrate with a Chinese national flag after Men's group final between team China and team Germany at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, May 6, 2018. Team China won the final 3-0 and claimed the title of the event. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
Defeating Germany 3-1, defending champions China claimed their ninth consecutive title at men's final of the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships here on Sunday.
China, featuring veterans Ma Long, Xu Xin and world No. 1 Fan Zhendong, confronted the tournament's No. 1 seed Germany represented by world No. 2 Timo Boll, Ruwen Filus and Patrick Franziska.
The final commenced as China captain Ma took on Boll in the most critical opening match.
Surprisingly, Ma breezed past the 37-year-old 11-4, 11-8, 11-3, giving China a precious advantage in the best of five showdown.
In the following match, 21-year world No. 1 Fan Zhendong wasted no time to demolish Filus in a convincing manner 11-4, 11-5,11-4.
Franziska, who beat Jeoung Youngsik of South Korea in the deciding rubber of semifinals, stepped up onto the court to prevent Germany from being swept out.
Confronting the good-shaped German, the left-handed Xu Xin lost the first set 9-11. The second set was also a hard-fought one, which Xu won with a minimal margin 12-10.
The third set started with 6-6 tie, then the world No. 4 penholder took control, winning by 11-7.
With a turning over to lead the game by 2-1, Xu became relaxed and collected the fourth set by 11-5, helping China raise the Swaythling Cup for the 21st time.
China captain Ma attributed the victory to the whole team. Asked about Tokyo Olympics he said, "Two years are not long, also not short either, I need to plan for it, but first of all, I have to get the ticket to Tokyo."