Ma Long defeated by Koki Niwa - photo by: sports.sohu.com
Koki Niwa of Japan defeated China's Ma Long by 4 sets to 2 with scores 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10, 5-11 and 11-9
Ma Long led the opening set and took control of the rallies winning by 11 points to 8. Ma Long maintained momentum in the second set as he took a lead 3-1. However, Koki Niwa found inspiration and raced into a 6-3 lead. Ma Long played very anxious and made a few consecutive unforced errors and Koki won the set 11-4.
In the third set, koki Niwa's desire to win the match showed, he took the opportunity of Ma long's mistakes and obtained a 2 sets to 1 lead over Ma Long.
In the fourth game of this epic encounter the rising Japanese star won the middle game and forced pressure on the World number 1. Koki took a 5-4 lead, and maintained momentum to take a 3 set to 1 advantage over Ma Long. In the firth set of this Olympic qualifications tie, Ma Long showed his presence and authority and won the set 11-5. Could Ma Long make a comeback?
In the sixth set, the Chinese national team head coach Liu Guoliang called a time out as Ma Long trailed by 5 points to 2. Ma Long was always on the chase throughout the set and Koki Niwa erupted with joy as he won the final set defeating World Team Champion 2012 in sixth hard fought sets! Koki Niwa was the first player to book himself a ticket to the London 2012 Olympic games from the Asian Qualifications.
Koki Niwa - photo by: Asahi Shimbun
Ma Long still has an opportunity to qualify in the next stage of matches. Be sure to follow all the latest from the Asian Olympic qualifiers here