by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Willed forward by the crowd, his uninhibited style of play had endeared him to the locals in the resort located at the foot of the southern Alpine region, he threatened but the first two games, both won by Xue Fei rather set the tone for the contest.
In the third game, the Swede was fighting himself more than his opponent before in the fourth, as Xue Fei saw the finishing line; the champion elect was hesitant and made mistakes. Truls Moregard seized the opportunity but in the fifth game, Xu Fei remained firm. At 10-7 he held match point, the first was saved not the second; the mission was accomplished.
“I’m very happy to claim this title; I lost the final in 2015, so this is a form of affirmation. Especially also because we lost the title last year, so I was also determined to win the title back for the team. I came here to win, so there was pressure for me to claim the title. Also Wang Chuqin and I are the leading players of the team but we were drawn into the same half of the draw and I had to face a foreign player in the final so there’s added pressure not to lose the title against a non-Chinese.” Xue Fei
The win for Xue Fei meant that China completed a clean sweep of title; also it meant a full house for Xue Fei. Earlier he had won gold in the Boys’ Team, Boys’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles events
Thus he became the second only player to achieve the feat; the one other is Fang Bo who won all four in 2009 in Cartagena de Indias.
However, there is a first for Xue Fei, he is the first pen-holder to win the Boys’ Singles title at an ITTF Word Junior Championships.