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China dominate table tennis finals


SHANGHAI, China -- China made it a clean sweep of five gold medals at the table tennis world championships in Shanghai with victory for Wanq Liqin in the men's singles the highlight Friday.

World number one Wang Liqin beat Olympic champion Ma Lin in a dramatic final to capture the title for the second time.

In the women's doubles final, Olympic and defending world champions Wang Nan and Zhang Yining once again vanquished Guo Yue and Niu Jianfeng.

But it was the men's final that really captured the imagination of a crowd of more than 8,000 and millions more on television in the table tennis mad nation.

The first and second seeds were very closely matched -- Wang has won 10 out his 19 encounters with Ma and he had the upper hand at first. Ma gained momentum in the second game as his controlled net play lured the lanky Wang into making errors that lost him two games.

The key to the match came in the fourth game as Ma, two points from taking a three games to one lead, inexplicably took a timeout and lost momentum.

Wang leveled at two games all and never looked back.

The two traded safe topspins in the fifth game, with neither player gaining a clear advantage, until at 7-6 Wang won a fast rally to move ahead.

Wang persisted through a fast exchange of topspin rallies to win that game, and continued to use his height to advantage with killer attacks that put Ma off-balance, taking three in a row to win 11-9 3-11 8-11 11-9 11-9 11-7.

Earlier in the day, Wang overpowered South Korea's Oh Sang-eun, 11-7, 12-10, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6. Ma beat Michael Maze in straight sets 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, putting an end to the Dane's surprise ascent.

In the women's doubles final, Wang and Zhang had a strong start, taking the first two games easily, but their Chinese teammates rallied to take the third, though the score was almost even throughout.

The elder pair regained control in the fourth game and kept it through to the end, winning 11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5.

"Maybe our mood was a bit better than our opponents'," said Wang.

The Chinese team earlier had captured three of the five golds at the championships, with Kong Linghui and Wang Hao taking the men's doubles gold and world No. 1 Zhang Yining claiming the women's singles title.

Wang Liqin and Guo Yue claimed the mixed doubles gold.



Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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