by Simon Daish
Fighting back to eliminate top seed Fan Zhendong earlier in the day, Xu Xin successfully booked his spot in the men’s singles final where he would meet a surprise opponent in the form of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju.
Just 17 years of age, no.16 seed Lin Yun-Ju impressed with four victories in the run-up to the final, two of which came against seeded opposition as the likes of China’s Lin Gaoyuan, seeded second, and Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, seventh, fell to the teenager.
The stage was set as the hot favourite Xu Xin took to the court to face the young pretender in an exciting battle for the men’s singles crown.
Both players started well but one held the slight advantage as Xu Xin edged the opening game by a two point margin, then in game two the penhold specialist saved two game points from 8-10 down to win 14-12, moving 2-0 up on the games scoreboard.
Missing out in game two but Lin Yun-Ju didn’t let the disappointment get to him, responding with a fine display in game three to reduce the deficit to 2-1. However, ultimately experience prevailed as Xu Xin found the necessary tools to win back-to-back games, securing a 4-1 victory in the process (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8).
Last year at the Seamaster 2018 Korea Open, Jang Woojin made history by becoming the first triple crown winner and stood alone in achieving the feat since July 2018. But 11 months later and we finally have a second name to add to that list and his name is Xu Xin.