Time and again the combination of a left hander and a right hander has proved successful in doubles; time and again the combination of a pen-hold grip player with a shake hands grip player has proved a winning formula.
At the Asian Championships in Macau on Tuesday 18th February 2012, both formulas emerged successful.
China Xu Xin, a left handed pen-hold grip player and Guo Yan, a right handed shake hands grip player, won the Mixed Doubles titles; in the final they overcame two shake hands grip right handers, Singapore’s Gao Ning and Li Jiawei.
Xu Xin and Guo Yue, the no.2 seeds won in five games (15-13, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8).
Gao Ning and Li Jiawei, the no.3 seeds, made the better start; in the opening game they established a 6-3 lead but at 9-all it was paity. The next point went to Singapore and then had a further two opportunities to win the game before eventually at 15-13, on their second game point, Xu Xin and Guo Yan secured success.
The greatest problem for the Singaporeans was trying to restrict the long dynamic Xu Xin forehand; once that stroke was in motion, the hopes of Gao Ning and Li Jiawei were minimalized to freezing point.
Seized Opportunity Singapore Mixed Double player Li Jiawei 's swift slicing in the final match
Again in the second game, Gao Ning and Li Jiawei made the better start; they established an early lead, only this time they maintained the lead and at 10-7 held game point.
In the previous game they had surrendered three opportunities, in the second game they surrendered none at all; at the first attempt they succeeded.
The loss of the second game motivated Xu Xin and Guo Yan; in the third game they were positive from the very start, the first to attack.
They went ahead 10-1! Gao Ning and Li Jiawei saved two game points but there was no reasonable chance they would save all nine; in fact they saved just two.
In the fourth game, Xu Xin and Guo Yan made errors trying to seize the advantage early in the rally; at 5-all it was parity.
It was at that stage, Xu Xin and Guo Yan reduced the errors; they moved into a 10-6 lead, Gao Ning and Li Jiawei saved two games points but not a third.
Fifth Game Time Out
In the fifth game, as in the first two, Gao Ning and Li Jiawei established an early lead.
However at 6-5 that lead was down to one point; Li Jiawei turned and looked quizzically at the Singapore coach sitting courtside, Jin Jung Hong. Mutually, they agreed to call “Time Out”.
The decision proved only a temporary stay of execution; at 10-8, Xu Xin and Guo Yan held two match points; a high class rally ensued, it was won by Xu Xin and Guo Yan.
Once again it was success for China, the third medal of the Asian Championships was in the same hands as the first two, the hands of China.