by Ian Marshall, Editor
Moreover, Xu Xin has occupied the no.1 spot on the men’s world rankings on no less the 22 monthly publications. Equally, he has a good record in Qatar; he has won the men’s singles event on three occasions; he succeeded in 2011, the following year he retained the title, before once again prevailing in 2014.
The only player who can better that record is Ma Long; he emerged the winner in 2013. Later he struck gold in 2016; then retained the title in 2017, prior to winning last year.
Ma Long is the target in Doha but overall the goal is the now retired Ma Lin, the men’s singles winner in Doha in 2007 and 2008; however, the target is not the individual discipline, it is the doubles.
Much was heralded last year when Ma Long surpassed the record of Vladimir Samsonov to win his 28th ITTF World Tour men’s singles title but no player is more decorated on the ITTF World Tour than Ma Lin. During his career he won 20 men’s singles titles and, with various partners, on 39 occasions the men’s doubles event.
Currently, Xu Xin is 10 men’s doubles in arrears but if you add the Grand Finals, he is even further behind. Ma Lin won five times commencing in 1999 in Sydney when partnering Kong Linghui; Xu Xin has only won once, last year in Zhengzhou alongside Fan Zhendong.
However, at an ITTF World Tour tournament in Qatar, Xu Xin does have the upper hand, he has won four times, one ahead of Ma Lin.
Joins forces with Ma Long
Now in 2020, Xu Xin once again joins forces with Ma Long, the player with whom he succeeded in Doha in 2009 and with whom two years later he was crowned world champion in Rotterdam.
Ma Long and Xu Xin occupy the top seeded men’s doubles spot, originally, it was the same in the mixed doubles before Liu Shiwen was forced to withdraw. A further doubles title to his name appears a distinct possibility but still he will be well behind Ma Lin. However, there is another way he can come closer.
In career men’s singles wins on the ITTF World, Ma Long and Vladimir Samsonov lead the field; next is Wang Liqin with 21 such successes one ahead of Ma Lin.
Win in Doha and Xu Xin will draw level with Germany’s Timo Boll, a total of 19 wins in fifth place, just one behind Ma Lin. Now that is some record, not bad for doubles players!