After spending just 1 month at the top spot on the World Rankings you had to wonder whether Xu Xin would have the makings to win a World Cup. The creative and unpredictable left handed penhold player has been highly rated among the Chinese National Team players and represented China at the 2012 London Olympics, chosen ahead of Ma Long.
It was close calling for Xu Xin on his way to the World Cup Final, he saved a very close encounter with Tang Peng of Hong Kong, trailing 3-1 he showed his class to come back to 3-3 and even at a 5-1 deficit he showed incredible prowess to claim 10 of the next 11 points to win the set 11-6 and the match 4-3. This has statistically been shown in research done in the 2011 World University Games where points were recorded for high level players. Xu Xin statistically showed to have runs of points won and lost, this means that a strong run of points in Tang Peng's favour never meant that he would be able to seal out the match based on that fact.
The quarterfinals saw Xu Xin dispatch of his younger teammate Yan An in comfortable fashion. Yan An was China's young hope, being called in by coach Liu Guoliang to replace reigning World Champion Zhang Jike. The pressure showed on Yan An who had lost to Dimitrij Ovtcharov in his group and he also failed to handle the skill level of Xu Xin in the quarterfinals. Xu Xin went through to face Ovtcharov, arguably one of the faster improving players on the world scene. Again Ovtcharov held the lead but Xu Xin showed his fighting spirit coming back to win in 7 set and setting up a finals appearance with none other than Vladimir Samsonov who had beaten Timo Boll 4-0 in his semifinal.
This was a rematch of the 2012 Bronze Medal match of the World Cup where Samsonov had beaten Xu Xin in 6 sets. This time, while signs of nervousness showed on the Chinese player's face at times, he held his nerve and pushed through to win in 5 sets. The match was a great one and Samsonov showed his experience, at 37 years of age he gave no sign of backing down. So Xu Xin was crowned World Cup champion for 2013. Will he return to the top spot on the World Rankings? We will see!