By Henry Chen
“Definitely I will be under much more pressure after Ma Long’s pull out. This is the first time for me to play World Cup alone.”
That is how Xu Xin will describe his feelings towards the upcoming 2016 Liebherr Men’s World Cup to be held on October 1st to 3rd in the German city of Saarbrücken.
Some time last week, it was reported that the 2016 Olympic Singles title-holder and the newly hailed Grand Slam champ, Ma Long, has withdrew from the competition.
This makes Xu Xin the sole representative of the Chinese Team in the tournament. At the same time, it also means that Xu Xin will be the one responsible for the continuity of the Chinese victory in such competition. China hasn’t lost the title since 2010.
Well, there is basis to such pressure that Xu Xin is having for the competition. After all, there are strong contenders on duty.
First on the list is no other than the Japanese top player, Jun Mizutani. Not long ago, in the big stage of the Rio Olympic Games, Mizutani defeated Xu Xin in a close encounter of 3-2 in the Men’s Team final. A second encounter in Saarbrücken could be very much appreciated by all the fans of table tennis.
European superstars Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Vladimir Samsonov are also considered big threats to the Chinese left handed pen-hold player.
In 2013 Liebherr Men’s World Cup, Dimitrij Ovtcharov placed the Chinese camp on the edge of their seats in the semifinals. The German player was close in beating Xu Xin as he led in 3-2. In the end, scores favoured Xu Xin in 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-2.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Samsonov has recorded a victory over Xu Xin in the 2012 Liebherr Men’s World Cup. It was the battle for the bronze. Xu Xin wasn’t able to take the pressure. He settled in fourth place after scoring 2-4 (8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 1-11, 11-6, 6-11).
Ovtcharov and Samsonov can definitely take advantage of the pressure Xu Xin is having this time, considering that they have the capacity to do it.
Despite the lurking challenges in the competition, Xu Xin will be coming prepared. There is pressure but he will try his best to perform well.
“But on the other hand, pressure is also a kind of motivation. The biggest opponent is myself, so I will try my best and perform well,” Xu Xin concluded.