Table Tennis Tidbits #27

By Robert Ho | May 08, 2018, 11:33 p.m. (ET)

Fan Zhendong 2016 China Open


TABLE TENNIS TIDBITS # 27  By Robert Ho  9-19-16

China Open  9-14—18-16   Top Two Tangle Times Two

After winning both the Men’s and the U 21 at the Czech Open, Yuto Muramatsu  of Japan again reached the U21 final in the China Open.  This time he faced a lefty looper from Hongkong, Ho Kwan Kit, who was much faster and more consistent than Yang Hong Wei from Taipei with whom Yuto had little difficulty in one semi.  Ho had little trouble with Yuto overpowering the Japanese chopper most of the match.  Yuto perhaps would have been more effective if he 3 ball attacked more often than he did and chopped more frequently to Ho’s FH, but it still probably wouldn’t have been enough against the superb play of Ho.

Yuka Ishigaki, the Japanese woman chopper who’d won the Bulgarian Open, was part of an object lesson regarding the implied theory of Chinese table tennis tactics in her 0-4 loss to Chen Meng of China.  Thru most of that match Yuka was “reduced” to playing table tennis the way she has chosen—defensively.  And her defense was totally inadequate in containing Meng’s choice of attacking.  Meng was able to hit the ball so hard that most of the time Yuka either didn’t make contact with the ball or failed technically to make a controlled contact with it.



In the men’s final #2 in the world, 19 year old Fan Zhen Dong beat #1 in the world and current World Champion, teammate Ma Long, 4 straight with superior power and consistency.  Fan’s BH loop is visibly more forceful than Ma’s and was a crucial factor in Fan’s win.  In the round of 16 Fan beat Muramatsu 4-0; since they met in the U21 final 2 years ago won by Fan, the Japanese chopper has improved a little, and Fan—a lot.



In the women’s final, #2 in the world and twice (and current) World Champion Ding Ning beat teammate and current #1 in the world (but still not World Champion) Liu Shiwen in 6 (6, -8, 4, -10, 10, 8).  Ding’s 10th point in the 7th was an edge to make it 10-7.    

The apparent Chinese attitude is to aggressively work to win the point outright or force an error by the opponent.  To play focused on defense in the hopes that the opponent will err and lose the point is not often effective at the highest level.  Of course one might enjoy the challenge and aesthetics of playing defensively and that may satisfy some competitors.


With the currently approved equipment and appropriate training, it is possible to hit the ball hard enough with topspin, or place it well enough to make it difficult or impossible to return.  On the other hand, a chopped return practically never wins a point outright because the force applied in making the stroke must necessarily be limited lest the ball go long.  Additionally, the chopper must be a certain minimum distance from the table to make a successful return which simultaneously reduces the threat of the chopper’s counterattack.

The Men’s World Cup in October and the Women’s World Cup in November will feature invited elite players.  Between now and those tournaments, there will be other contests where the elite will be absent.