Liang Jishan Performs Masterclass in Third Consecutive College Championship Final

By Matt Hetherington | April 17, 2019, 12:44 a.m. (ET)

A 2017 champion and 2018 finalist of the men's singles event at the National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships, Liang Jishan went out in his last year of the competition in style, picking up his second memorable moment atop the podium.

Greensboro Coliseum housed the 2019 iSET National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships final installment, as the players who had worked throughout the season to qualify through divisional and regional competition met together at the National champs.

While there were plenty of shaky moments and upsets, as there always are in a high caliber field of competitors, Liang Jishan was the player to present some of the most incredible table tennis of the season.

As the singles competition began in Greensboro, North Carolina, Liang had already earned himself a team championship medal with Texas Wesleyan, now he moved on to the next prize.

He was pushed down to the wire by 2014 Youth Olympian Krish Avaari in the earlier rounds, but showed his experience to come through in the clutches of the 5th game and advance.

What shone through as he pushed his way ever-closer to the gold medal, were the absolutely astounding moments where his powerful forehand was put on display.

Winner after forehand winner, Liang was unassailable in many rallies, pounding the ball across the table at unbelievable pace.

With his exceptional service and tight game, it was difficult for his opponents to initiate with strength, and even on the occasions they did open first, Liang was either in position to launch a devastating counter attack, or exhibited a very contrasting level of control on his backhand side.



He faced a tough challenge from 2016 Olympian Feng Yijun in the semifinal, overcoming that hurdle and putting him in good preparation for the final. Feng was explosive on both wings, but Liang showed his prowess and won the crucial points to gain the winning edge.

In the final he met Jiang Niu, who had convincingly moved past Wang Jinxin in the semifinals with a 4-0 win over the 2015 US Open champ. Niu was on his debut, also representing Texas Wesleyan. The school would be happy to take home a gold and silver, but for Liang Jishan only gold was on his mind.

He got off to a strong start and displayed what could only be titled a masterclass in the art of forehand third ball attack. In moments that left the onlookers silent with pure admiration, he bombed forehands, even throwing his body weight down to the ground and in 360s to force even more power into the ball. 

It was an awe-inspiring display of attacking dominance. Try as best he could, and ripping plenty of his own powerful attacks, Niu was left to take away the silver, having no real answers for the unrelenting bombardment of Liang Jishan's forehand.

Congratulations to Liang on his second NCTTA national singles title, and for making 3 consecutive finals in a row!