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Veteran paddler Xu expresses anticipation toward mixed doubles
Aiming high
Published: Sep 21, 2021 05:33 PM
Xu Xin hits a return in the table tennis men's team quarterfinal at the National Games on Monday in Yan'an, Shaanxi Province. Photo: VCG

Xu Xin hits a return in the table tennis men's team quarterfinal at the National Games on Monday in Yan'an, Shaanxi Province. Photo: VCG

After crashing out of the men's team quarterfinals with Shanghai at the ongoing 14th Chinese National Games on Monday, Olympic champion Xu Xin expressed his expectations for the mixed doubles, an event he lost in the final at the Tokyo Olympics, at a later stage of the tournament.

Penholder Xu, 31, finished runner-up with Liu Shiwen in the Olympic mixed doubles event after losing to hosts pair of Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito.

Back on the national stage, Xu is set to feature in the men's team, singles and mixed doubles at the quadrennial National Games underway in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

"Actually I care about mixed doubles the most, and hopefully I can get a good result in it," said Xu.

In the team event quarterfinals, Xu, who was listed as a shock third selection, moved past Liu Hanfeng in straight sets. But Hou Yingchao, 10 years older than Xu, scored two points over Shang Kun and Zhao Zihao, leading Shaanxi to a nerve-wracking 3-2 victory over the reigning champions Shanghai to reach the semifinals.

"Everyone can see how well Hou played today, and no one could easily beat him if he enjoys the same form as today. It's not easy for him to play at such a high level at his age. Respect to him," commented Xu afterward. Xu also expressed a bit pity while emphasizing the result was not surprising. In his perspective, ­title favorites Guangdong and Beijing, which boasts his Olympic title-­winning team members Fan Zhendong and Ma Long respectively, don't have any shortcomings in their rosters. 

"We won the championship last time and came here with the same roster, but four years have passed, and we have some weaknesses in our style of play. Moreover, we are slowly aging now," he said.


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