Reversal of Fortune for the Chinese: (Fortune Kooky ??!?)
(By Steve Hopkins / Photo credit to ITTF)
SWEDISH OPEN: After a two tournament absent from the podium, the Chinese were back with a vengeance at the Seamaster 2017 World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm this weekend. The Chinese took five of the eight spots in the Quarters, and all four slots in the Semis. Fan Zhendong defeated Zhou Yu (4-3) on one half of the draw, and Xu Xin defeated Fang Bo (4-2) to secure his spot in the Final. Xu Xin then dominated the final 4-1.
Neither Dimitrij Ovtcharov nor Timo Boll participated in this event (Ovtcharov and Boll each shared in the All-German Finals of both the German Open and the World Cup in recent weeks), but that should not take away from the domination of the Chinese in Stockholm. Of the seven Chinese players in the draw, all advanced to the round of 16, and five advanced to the Quarterfinals. In fact, for the full event, not a single Chinese entry lost to a non-Chinese player — all of their losses were to other Chinese.
Despite the rankings, Xu Xin has given Fan Zhendong trouble over the years. Fan’s results against Xu have improved in recent years (as have the results of the World No. 2 against virtually all other players).
Fan lead early in the first game and held on to his early lead, but Xu Xin won the first two points of the second game and never looked back. Game two was close, with Xu winning at -7. The final three games were -9, -6, and -2. Fan was the aggressor throughout the match, driving the pace on both sides. Xu’s tactics appeared to be more controlled, using touch off of the serve to begin soft, playing safer balls in the rallies, and counter-punching when Fan attacked – keeping Fan off balance. When Xu did attack, it was often “all-in”, using his full body to maximize power and often moving so far out of position that it would be impossible to recover.
Ultimately, this was Xu Xin’s day – starting a little slow, but dominating a vast majority of the match.
The Complete Men’s Draw and tournament information can be found here.
Finals (Xin v. Zhendong) (Courtesy of BestTT)