HARIMOTO, who last played MA as a 12-year-old losing 4-0, showed how much he has improved over the past 2 years, defeating the man who has been basically unbeatable for the last four years, 4-2 in front of a sold-out crowd in Kitakyushu, Japan.
After the match Ma Long said: MA stated: “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, making a lot of unnecessary mistakes and allowing my opponent to maintain the lead.”
This is what Harimoto said after the match: “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.”
Watch the Highlights of this epic match here: