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China takes away three titles from ITTF Swedish Open

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Table tennis powerhouse China unsurprisingly claimed three out of four titles at the ITTF World Tour Swedish Open here on Sunday, but it was pretty surprising that qualifier Chen Xingtong lifted the women's singles trophy at the expense of reigning Olympic and world champion Ding Ning.

Chen was riding on a magical journey this week in Sweden. Kicking off her campaign from qualifiers, she upset promising Japanese star Miu Hirano and teammates Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, en route to her final encounter with Ding Ning, who played her first international tournament in almost five months.

Chen led 3-1 after four games, only to be dragged into the decider as the title favorite Ding nailed two games at 11-6, 11-6 each.

The two paddlers held their serves for 9-all in the seventh game, before Chen converted her championship point at 11-9 and finished the week on a high note.

It was Chen's second World Tour singles title of the season, and she says it will boost her confidence to a new level.

"I lost many similar matches (seven-game thrillers) before. This time I showed much more experience, and proved myself at last," commented Chen, adding that she still had much room for improvement and currently should not be regarded as a high-quality paddler.

Ding was last featured in international tournaments in the ITTF World Tour China Open back in June. She had to withdraw from the World Cup due to injury.

"Losing the final is a bit of a pity for me, but I feel better as the matches go on, one after another," she said.

Coming back from a 11-6 loss in the opening game, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin combined to beat their Hong Kong compatriots Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in the following three games for the men's doubles title.

Later on Sunday, the Chinese duo had their head-to-head clash in the men's singles final, where second-seeded Xu uppered also recovered from a one-game deficit, at 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2.

Women's doubles was the only event that China missed out from the top podium, as the Japanese duo of Hina Hayata and Mima Ito beat Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling 11-8, 1-11, 11-9, 11-9.

Following the final stop in Sweden, the ITTF World Tour will head to the Grand Finals in Astana, Kazakhstan from December 14 to 17, highlighted by the 2017 ITTF Star Awards in eight categories.

Chinese team captain Ma Long was nominated for Male Table Tennis Stars, while Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling were on the nominee list for Female Stars.

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