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The ďXĒ Factor, Silver Medallist One Year Ago Xu Xin Strikes Gold One Year Later
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor


Xu Xin in full flight at ITTF World Tour Korean Air Korea Open  Photo By: An Sung Ho

04/07/2013        GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour, Korean Air Korea Open, Major Series (Click here to access this section)

Beaten in the final one year ago, Xu Xin climbed one step higher on Sunday 7th April 2013 to win the Menís Singles title at the ITTF World Tour Korean Air Korea Open in Incheon.

In 2012 he had suffered defeat by the very narrowest of margins in the decisive seventh game, losing to colleague Zhang Jike (8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10); one year later, occupying the no.2 seeded position in the draw, he accounted for top seed, Ma Long, to arrest the title.

Xu Xin prevailed in an all Chinese final in six games (11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Endured Torrid Time
Contests between players from the same national association, especially in the case of the Chinese who know each other inside out, are difficult to predict but the win recorded by Xu Xin was somewhat of a surprise.

In recent encounters in World ranking events, Xu Xin has endured a torrid time against Ma Long; the three most recent meetings all being at the semi-final stage,

Defeats in England and Middle East
At the LIEBHERR Menís World Cup in the English port city of Liverpool in late September 2012, Ma Long beat Xu Xin in four straight games (11-4, 11-4, 11-4, 11-8); then earlier this year at the ITTF World Tour Kuwait Open, Ma Long again won without conceding a single game (11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-2).

The following week they met in Doha at the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open; again Ma Long won but this time in six games (9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10).

It was a somewhat exasperated Xu Xin who departed the arena.

Man for the Final
Two months later in Incheon, Xu Xin settled the score and underlined one clear fact; when it comes to a Menís Singles final on the ITTF World Tour, note the name Xu Xin.

Incheon was his ninth career appearance in an ITTF World Tour Menís Singles final. It was a seventh win.

Beaten on Debut
Additional to his defeat one year ago by Zhang Jike in Korea, he has only ever lost in the final on one other occasion and that defeat must be put into perspective.

He was beaten in the final in Minsk at the Stag Belarus Open in 2008 by the host nationís Vladimir Samsonov; it was Xu Xinís first appearance on the ITTF World Tour, he was only 18 years old at the time and earlier in the proceedings in the Menís Team event, partnering Hou Yingchao he had beaten Vladimir Samsonov.

Outstanding Record
It is a quite outstanding record and in percentage terms of success ahead of Ma Long; defeat in Incheon was the ninth time in 23 Menís Singles finals on the ITTF World Tour that Ma Long has had to settle for runners up spot.

Flying High
Unquestionably it is an incredible record but when it comes to finals the man to back is Xu Xin, a point he proved on the first Sunday of the month; the Menís Singles winner at the Korean Air Korea Open.

In Incheon Xu Xin was flying high; he had the ďXĒ factor.




The Men's Singles final in Incheon, Xu Xin beats Ma Long




 

   

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