by Simon Daish
Wong Chun Ting was victorious the last time he met Xu Xin with a seventh game upset at the 2016 SheSays China Open, but Xu extracted his revenge in Saarbrücken without suffering any such dramas.
The opening two games were too close to call for the majority of play with two point margin victories going to both competitors, leaving the scores level at 1-1.
Then all of a sudden Xu raised the pace and aggression in his play and this reflected in the scores of the remaining games.
Seeded fourth Wong Chun Ting sat two places behind second seed Xu Xin for the tournament, but the difference in performance between the two players in the encounter became apparent from game three onward as Xu claimed three games in a row to take the win (11-9, 13-15, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6).
“I knew it would be tough after beating him at the China Open. I think he was stronger today and this is the seventh time he has beaten me while I have only managed to beat him once. I am happy with my performance because I played very well.” – Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong).
Both Wong and Xu specialise in the penhold grip department, and while some critics may discourage this method of play in the modern era of table tennis, the impressive showings from the above players at the World Cup could prove a significant point that for now at least pen-holders still have an important part to play in the sport.