Liu Shiwen succeeds at 2016 Asian Cup to qualify for Olympic Games – photo provided courtesy of the ITTF
The 2016 Asian Cup concluded on Sunday with China’s Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin taking the women’s and men’s titles in Dubai.
World No.1, Liu (pictured above) beat fellow compatriot Li Xiaoxia in the women’s final to automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Games one and two in the final went to Liu (11-8, 11-9), but 2012 Olympic champion Li managed to pull herself back into the tie with a win in the 3rd end (9-11). Liu then edged Li in deuce in the 5th game (14-12), before the former of the two players sealed the title after winning the 6th (11-3).
Liu Shiwen was delighted with her performance in Dubai but admitted that her opponent in the final wasn’t fully fit, “I’m really happy to win this title today, especially after my early defeat at the ITTF-Asian Olympic Qualifiers just last week…Li Xiaoxia actually injured her knee prior to the tournament, so she wasn’t in her best playing condition today”
Pictured: Xu Xin with his Asian Cup trophy – photo provided courtesy of the ITTF
Xu Xin impressed in the men’s tournament of the 2016 Asian Cup, claiming the title after a difficult final against Zhang Jike (CHN). The final actually saw Xu go 0-1 down as Zhang took the opening end (4-11), but Xu won three consecutive games (11-7, 11-6, 11-8) to move 3-1 ahead and gain firm control of the match. Game five went to Zhang (6-11) to move to within an end of drawing level in the final, but it was Xu who ended the victor after he won the 6th end (11-6).
After the match, Xu Xin told the media that he was happy with the outcome of the tournament, but wasn’t getting carried away with his form ahead of the Olympic Games “This is a major title, I won against a very good player, so I am very pleased and my confidence is sky high… However, this event is just a stepping stone to the Olympic Games; I will now focus on my training to keep my momentum up on the road to Rio.”
April’s TT News – with thanks to the ITTF and Holger Straede.