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Zhang Jike wins world title to complete hat-trick

China's Zhang Jike (C) reacts among family members after defeating his compatriot Wang Hao in the men's singles final at the World Team Tabl
China's Zhang Jike (C) reacts among family members after defeating his compatriot Wang Hao in the men's singles final at the World Team Tabl

PARIS (Reuters) - Zhang Jike sealed a remarkable hat-trick of major titles when he beat fellow Chinese Wang Hao 4-2 in the men's final of the world championships at Bercy on Monday.

Zhang, who had already beaten Wang in the 2011 world championships final and the Olympic final last year, prevailed 11-7 11-8 6-11 14-12 5-11 11-7 on his first match point.

"It was a tough match," the 25-year-old Zhang told French TV Channel L'Equipe 21 after running towards the stands to hug his parents in a rare display of emotion.

"I will try to make history. I have won all the titles already and I want to do it again," he added, confirming he was looking to take part in the 2016 Olympic Games.

It is the fifth time in a row that the men's singles title was won by a Chinese player since Austrian Werner Schlager was crowned in Paris in 2003.

The turning point came in the fourth set when Zhang saved four set points to eventually open a 3-1 lead, giving away the fifth before outplaying the 2009 world champion in the sixth.

Earlier on Monday, Li Xiaoxia, the women's singles world and Olympic champion, won the doubles title with Guo Ye for the third time in succession.

China, however, failed to achieve a clean sweep after Kim Hyok Bong and Kim Jong won the mixed doubles title for North Korea last Saturday.

The last time China failed to win all the titles at a world championships was in 2003 when Schlager claimed the men's singles title.

China have also won all but one of the Olympic titles since 1996, South Korea's Ryu Seung Min taking the men's singles gold in Athens in 2004.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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