World number one, Ma Long yesterday lost 4-2 to 14-year-old Japanese, Tomakazu Harimoto in the quarterfinals of the Seamaster 2018 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)
World Tour LION Japan Open in Kitakyushu, Japan.
Harimoto ranked 10 looked untouchable in the first three sets, racing to a 3-0 lead and leaving Olympic champion in distress. Long, who won the China Open last week, came back into the game at 2-3.
Harimoto, who was eager to make history against a legend of the game, won the sixth set to stun the top seed and then putting the crowd into ecstasy, after creating one of the greatest upsets in the sport. An excited Harimoto, who expressed joy at his accomplishment, said: “This is a dream come true, Ma Long is my idol, so beating him here in my home country is amazing.
After leading 3-0 and then Ma Long coming back, I had to relax myself and just play one point at a time, as I got very nervous. “I am so relieved that I could finish out the match. This is a new stepping stone for me to achieve my goal of becoming Olympic champion at Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Speaking on his loss, a shocked Long commended the teenager over his rapid improvement since their last meeting.“In these last few years through his hard work he has improved a lot and has developed a great deal while playing against all the world’s top players.“I didn’t play very ideally today (yesterday), making a lot of unnecessary mistakes and allowing my opponent to maintain the lead,” he submitted.