Jaipur: Xu Xin and Feng Tianwei bagged the men's and women's singles title at the 28th Asian Cup table tennis tournament, beating their famed opponents in two high-quality finals at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
It was a pity that not many turned up to watch the cream of world table tennis in action but those who did, enjoyed to the hilt.
The men's final was a repeat of the 2014 Asian Games title clash with little separating the class of world no. 2 Xu and Fan Zhendong, a place below his Chinese teammate in the latest ITTF rankings.
And after another epic battle, the result too was similar for the 25-year-old Xu, who won his third Asian Cup title.
The 18-year-old sensation Fan led 3-1 and was on course for a maiden title before Xu rallied back for an 11-8 11-13 11-13 5-11 11-8 11-4 11-7 victory.
The momentum shifted back to Xu after he won the fifth with a lucky net cord. From there on he kept control on the proceedings to scrape through. It was a sheer treat to watch left-handed Xu unleash expansive forehand drives with his rare penhold grip and more often than not, those powerful strokes were irretrievable.
Fan, to his credit, matched Xu stroke for stroke and what stood out from his repertoire of shots was his down the line backhand winners, which he hit by swiftly moving towards the forehand side. Ironically, he sent the same stroke long on Xu's first match point.
"I think I took it a bit easy after winning the first
game. It is never easy playing Fan. I just tried to play my game after I was down by two games. In the decider at 6-6, the win was not on my mind. I just wanted to focus on the next point. This match was also tougher than the Asian Games final," said Xu through a translator.
He had last come to India as a 15-year-old prodigy.
The women's singles final was an equally absorbing affair with world no. 4 Feng of Singapore getting the better of China's three-time tournament champion Liu Shiwen.
The 28-year-old defeated her third-ranked rival 3-11 11-8 11-9 7-11 11-1 12-10 for her maiden Asian Cup crown.
Closing out the match could have been a lot tougher for Feng had she not fought back from 1-6 down to seal the sixth game and with that, the title.
In the third place playoff, fourth seed Zhu Yuling accounted for Japan's Ai Fukuhara 11-8 7-11 12-10 11-6 11-7.
Japanese number one Jun Mizutani overcame Hong Kong's Tang Peng in four straight games (11-4 11-6 11-9 11-8) to finish third in the men's singles.