Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion Fan Zhendong of China was in superb form as he swept all four available titles at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
After claiming victory in the men’s and mixed doubles, as well as the team event, the 18-year-old met world number two and compatriot Xu Xin in a breathtaking men’s singles final.
Fan started in ominous fashion as he looked on course to claim a fourth Asian Championships crown with ease, racing into an early three-set lead against his stunned opponent.
But Xu demonstrated why he is ranked at number two in the world as he launched a spirited fightback to level a fascinating final at 3-3, before Fan held his nerve in the decider to complete a 12-10, 11-2, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-13, 11-9 triumph.
“Playing in four events has been a great challenge for myself, it has been tiring, but also very rewarding,” Fan said.
“Of course I'm very excited to win four medals here at the Asian Championships, especially in the men's singles.
“I have lost to Xu Xin several times after playing full seven-games matches in international tournaments, so I had a lot of desire to win this match against him.
“It was a difficult match, even though I was well prepared and was able to carry out my strategies.
“I had the chance to end the match in the fourth, fifth and even sixth game, because I was leading, but I guess I became more reserved when I was close to winning, and that caused me [to lose] those three games.”
Earlier on, the two finalists had teamed up to secure the men’s doubles crown, beating Korean duo Jung Young-sik and Lee Sang Su 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.
The women’s singles final also proved to be a dramatic affair but for different reasons after China’s Chen Meng was forced to withdraw from the match with an injury, which required hospital treatment, when trailing two games to one, handing compatriot Zhu Yuling the title.
The disappointment for Chen came after she partnered the formidable Fan to mixed doubles gold as the Chinese pair proved too strong for Singapore’s Yang Zi and Yu Mengyu, emerging with a comfortable 11-8, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 victory.
In the women’s doubles, Kim Hye Song & Ri Mi Gyong guided North Korea to their third Asian Championships title as they ousted Japan’s Miu Hirano and Mima Ito 11-3, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7.
China had managed to defend their men’s and women’s team titles by beating Japan 3-0 in both finals.
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