by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Impressively, Xu Xin has won the Qatar Men’s Singles title on three occasions; he won in 2011 beating Germany’s Timo Boll in the final, before retaining the title when in the decisive contest he accounted for colleague Wang Hao. Two years later in 2014 he regained the crown. He overcame Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan to secure the top step of the podium.
The record of success means that if he can succeed this year, he becomes the most successful male player at ITTF World Tour tournaments staged in Qatar.
No player has won the Men’s Singles title four times. Furthermore, none of his rivals are competing this year in Doha.
Colleague Ma Long is not named on the entry list. He won in 2013 when he accounted for colleague Yan An in the final; most recently in 2016 and 2017 he beat Fan Zhendong to seal the title. Now retired, Wang Liqin emerged successful three times. Always against fellow Chinese adversaries, in 2005 and 2006 he beat Ma Lin in the final, in 2010 he accounted for Zhang Jike.
Illustrious names from China; the one further player to win three times is Croatia’s Zoran Primorac. In 1998, he beat Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner in the final before in 1999 and 2001 overcoming Korea’s Kim Taeksoo to secure the top prize. The unique factor with regards to Zoran Primorac is that his wins were consecutive; no ITTF World Tour tournament was staged in 2000 in Qatar.
Three in row can be achieved this year in Qatar but a fourth win would but Xu Xin in a class of his very own; not only a doubles specialist, a Doha specialist.