Zhang Jike beats Wang Hao to claim world table tennis crown
Olympic champion achieves seventh straight victory over Wang Hao to claim world crown
Agence France-Presse in Paris
Defending champion Zhang Jike retained his men's singles title at the world championships after defeating fellow mainlander Wang Hao in the final.
Fourth seed Zhang prevailed 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 5-11, 11-7 in a rematch of last year's Olympic final to secure a fourth major title in a row.
Zhang completed a career grand slam when he pipped Wang to the Olympic crown in London last August, adding to the world title he won two years ago in Rotterdam and the 2011 World Cup, with Wang also the losing finalist on both of those occasions. Ma Long took top honours at last year's World Cup in Liverpool, an event in which Zhang did not take part.
Having raced into a two games to love lead in the French capital, Zhang was pegged back by Wang in game three and the contest appeared to be heading for two-all only for Zhang to fight off four set points in the fourth frame to re-establish a two-game advantage.
Wang, the 2009 champion, then took the following game to preserve his title hopes but it proved to be merely a stay of execution as Zhang wrapped things up in game six at the first time of asking.
"It was a very closely fought match, we both played well," Zhang said afterwards, his dominance over Wang extended with a seventh straight success over the World No 3 that improved his head-to-head record against Wang to 8-3.
"For me there is no loser, the most important thing was to enjoy the match and I did that," Zhang said, paying tribute to his opponent.
"I've been in Paris twice [the 2011 World Cup being the other]. Both times I've won the final so I really love it here," added the 25-year-old, who said his next goal was to win all three major titles again.
Despite coming up short against Zhang yet again, beaten finalist Wang was not too downhearted by the loss.
"I'm actually not really disappointed. I'm really happy to have got to the final," said Wang, who hinted at retirement from the national set up.
"This may be my last game so I really just wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to use this game as a way to thank all the people who have been so supportive of me," said the 29-year-old.
"I really want to continue playing, I don't want to give it up but I cannot deny that younger players are doing better."
Earlier, women's singles champion Li Xiaoxia doubled her gold medal haul with victory in the doubles final.
Xiaoxia and partner Guo Yue powered to a third successive world championships doubles crown with a 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 win over singles runner-up Liu Shiwen and world No 1 Ding Ning in another all-Chinese encounter.
Bronze medals were awarded to losing semi-finalists Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, also of China, and Singapore pair Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu.