by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Xu Xin but in the final it was Fan Zhendong who made the better start; he won the opening game. However, it was to prove the sum total of his success.
Gradually asserting his authority, Xu Xin secured the next two; in the fourth game Xu Xin established a 7-3 lead, eventually he won the game by the minimal two point margin. It was to prove crucial.
Securing the close third game undoubtedly gave Xu Xin a boost of confidence. In the fourth he went ahead 9-3, before at 10-4 holding six game points. Fan Zhendong won the next two points but no more, Xu Xin held a three games to one lead.
Xu Xin was calm and resolute, the service action precise and thoughtful, followed whenever possible with his long raking devastating forehand, once ahead he was proving unstoppable. In the fifth game Xu Xin established a 4-2 lead; understandably Fan Zhendong called “Time Out”.
Would Fan Zhendong now mount a memorable recovery? It was to prove the exact reverse; Fan Zhendong did not win another point!
“Fan Zhendong was the favourite before the match started. We know each other so well; we know each other’s style of play. After I lost the first game it was important that I paid attention to the details, the short play; as the match progressed I became more active, more positive.” Xu Xin
The top step of the podium for Xu Xin and an air of revenge; two years ago in the Men’s Singles final in the very same hall, Xu Xin had lost to Fan Zhendong.