by Simon Daish
At the final hurdle in the Qatari capital Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, seeded fifth, saw off Japanese fourth seeds Masataka Morizono and Mima Ito by a convincing 3-0 score-line (11-5, 11-7, 11-7) to secure the gold medal.
This marks Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen’s third title win as a pair, having won at last year’s ITTF World Tour event in Austria and earlier this year in Hungary. The Chinese duo are officially the most successful Mixed Doubles partnership since the category was introduced to the World Tour last year.
So, following their fine outing in Doha can Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen take their partnership to even greater heights when they compete at the upcoming Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest?
One advantage they do possess is that of experience – not only are they well versed when it comes to dealing with high pressure on the biggest of stages but Xu Xin has already been crowned World Mixed Doubles champion once before, partnering Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun to victory in 2015.
Four years on from that celebratory occasion Xu Xin, alongside a new partner in Liu Shiwen, will face stiff opposition next month in the Hungarian capital of Budapest especially from another formidable Chinese pair in Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning.
A partnership consisting of two Chinese representatives hasn’t taken home the Mixed Doubles trophy on the World Championships stage since Zhang Chao and Cao Zhen secured the top step of the medals podium in 2011. In just under a month’s time could we see an all-Chinese combination return to Mixed Doubles glory?
Grab your tickets for the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships to see Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen fight for Mixed Doubles gold in Budapest: