Verviers – Belgium, Oct 27, 2013: China’s XU Xin earned the title of LIEBHERR 2013 Men’s World Cup Champion after beating Belarusian Vladimir SAMSONOV 4-1 (11-6, 12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7) in Verviers, Belgium.
The 23 year old, whose victory here is his first at a major World Title event (Olympics, World Championships and World Cups) stated: “It is a big thrill for me to win my first major World Title event here in Belgium. This will give me a lot of confidence to fulfill my dreams of becoming World and Olympic Champion.”
“The 14 year gap between me and SAMSONOV gave me an advantage, as I was stronger and faster than him, which was the key to my victory. I respect SAMSONOV a lot to be still playing at such a high level at his age. He is a true legend.”
SAMSONOV’s 37 years may have worked against him in the final, but the father of two was still able to produce some of the best table tennis of his career to reach his fourth Men’s World Cup final. Unfortunately for the crowd who were on his side, he was unable to get over the final hurdle and win his fourth Men’s World Cup gold.
“I had my chances in the fourth game at 9-all, but it was not to be and I lost my first Men’s World Cup final,” stated SANSONOV. “Overall, I’m satisfied with my performance; I feel I had two good wins here; yesterday I beat CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE) and today Timo BOLL (GER) who I haven’t beaten for five years.”
“Also, it was good to play once again in Belgium; several years ago I played for La Villette Charleroi and my two children were both born here,” concluded SAMSONOV, who is also the ITTF Athletes Commission Chairman.
Recently crowned European Champion Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER) claimed the bronze medal, beating countryman Timo BOLL (GER) in the bronze medal play off 4-1 (11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6). This victory was not only his best ever result at a World Cup, but it also means he goes above BOLL into fifth place on the world rankings. This is the first time in 8 years that BOLL has been ranked below another European.
OVTCHAROV, the London 2012 bronze medalist stated: “I am very proud to be the leading European player, this is the result of a lot of hard work.”
“Yes, I was disappointed I lost to XU Xin this morning as I felt I had a real chance; playing the third place match is always hard but it’s the Men’s World Cup, you must prepare as any other match”
“The bronze medal match is an important match, but I hope I can come back next year and win the World Cup.”
The next ITTF event is the 2013 ITTF World Cadet Challenge, which begins Monday, 28 October 2013, in Otocec, Slovenia. This event is very close to the Men’s World Cup Champion XU Xin heart after he won the event in 2004: “Yes, I remember playing in Funchal and I wish all the players who are playing in the competition the very best wherever they are from”, said Xu Xin. —- ITTF/Photo by Christophe Neuville