Monthly Archives: August 2021

Chinese National Team Emphasizes Youth To Finish 2021

Chinese National Team coaches Li Sun and Qin Zhijian recently outlined their plans for the second half of 2021 as they keep an eye out for the 2024 Paris Olympics. In particular, they are looking for young players to fill the void that will be left by Xu Xin and Ma Long when they likely retire or decline before the next Olympics. Although the women’s team is relatively younger, Li still hopes there will be new younger players to push and challenge them during the China National Games and Super League this year. The coaches also explained their decision to withdraw from the Asian Championships as a result of a combination of the pandemic, the weak competition, and the lack of stakes involved.

A translation of a full media report is provided below.

The Chinese Table Tennis Association recently announced that it will not participate in the Asian Championships to be started in Qatar at the end of September. Both the men’s and women’s team coaches Qin Zhijian and Li Yan said that the team’s key tasks in the second half of the year are the National Games, the Super League and the World Championships, with the World Championships being the top priority. They hope that more outstanding young players will emerge through the games and lay a solid foundation for preparing for the Paris Olympic cycle.


Xu Xin won three gold medals in the 2019 Asian Championships. Image source: ITTF official Weibo

The Asian Championships do more harm than good

From September 28th to October 5th, the 2021 Asian Championships will be held in Qatar. The coaching staff of the national table tennis team decided that the “catch the field” competition would do more harm than good, so they decided not to go as a team.

According to the national table tennis arrangement, the Tokyo Olympic Games players will return to the provincial team after the isolation period. After a short period of preparation, they will participate in the National Games table tennis competition in Xi’an from September 17th to 26th. The Asian Championships opened on September 28, and the time between the two matches was very short, and it was difficult for the national table tennis to arrive at the venue as scheduled.

At the same time, according to our national defense policy, if players participate in the Asian Championships, they will have to be quarantined for 21 to 28 days after returning home. This is very detrimental to the players’ maintenance, especially the progress and growth of young players. Qin Zhijian said that usually athletes need one or two months to recover after a long period of isolation. In addition, the level and antagonism of the Asian Championships are not as strong as those of the National Games.

In addition, the global epidemic situation is also an important reason why National Table Tennis decided to abandon the Asian Championships. Li Sun said frankly that the current risk of infection in international travel is still very high, and “safety first” should be ensured. Moreover, the main role of the Asian Championships is to win the “tickets” for the World Table Tennis Championships next year. As the host, China has already been shortlisted, so the impact of not participating in the competition is not significant.


Liu Shiwen won the women’s singles championship at the 2019 World Championships. Image source: ITTF official Weibo

The World Championship is the “ultimate goal”

According to Qin Zhijian, in addition to the National Games, the National Ping Pong will also participate in the Ping Pong Super League and individual World Championships in the second half of the year, and the latter is regarded as the “ultimate goal” of the team in the second half of the year. Abandoning the Asian Championships is also a decision made by the National Table Tennis Team after considering the overall rhythm of the second half of the year.

This year’s World Table Tennis Championships is scheduled to be held in Houston, USA from November 23 to 29. It is the most important task for the national table tennis team in the second half of the year. The World Table Tennis Championships are usually held in the spring of each year, and the current competition is postponed until the end of the year due to the epidemic, which poses a new challenge for the preparation of national table tennis. “After playing a big game like the Olympics, the athletes and coaches need to adjust their minds and bodies, and the entire team also needs to alternate between the old and the new. After the previous Olympics, there will be no major competitions in the second half of the year, so this kind of rhythmic team has never experienced it. “Qin Zhijian said.

Before the World Championships, China National Table Tennis is also facing two major domestic events, the National Games and the Table Tennis Super League. Qin Zhijian said that the 4-year National Games is the highest level event in the country, and all local teams attach great importance to it. The October league also carries the role of discovering rookies and laying the foundation for the new cycle. The two competitions are about to enter the closed preparations for the World Table Tennis Championships. Time is still very tight, so the arrangements need to be targeted.”

Li Sun also said that Guoping should focus on me and maintain its own rhythm. “You can’t play in every game. You must be focused.”


In the men’s singles final of the Tokyo Olympics, Ma Long defeated Fan Zhendong to defend his title. Image source: “Ping Pong World” magazine

I hope young people will show up

At the Tokyo Olympics, the Chinese women’s table tennis team realized a “reign change”. The three players who won gold medals in their first Olympic games are expected to play again in Paris; the men’s team has not yet completed the transition between the new and the old, and the two Rio Olympic cycle veterans who helped the team win the championship are still in battle. In the middle, Fan Zhendong still failed to pass the “big mountain” of Malone in the singles arena.

When talking about expectations for the second half of the year, Qin Zhijian said that he hopes that the men’s team will better complete the transition from new to old and lay a solid foundation for the next two Olympic cycles. “The Paris Olympic cycle is also very special, one year less than the previous one. So. I hope that through the National Games and the Table Tennis Super League, including preparations and competitions for the World Championships, more outstanding young players will emerge.”

Li Sun is not satisfied with the existing “golden lineup”. He said that healthy competition has always been the magic weapon for China’s ping pong ball. “The women’s team now has four Olympic champions, but I hope that in the second half of the year, Everyone can compete again, and more young athletes will challenge the four of them.”

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Jeoung Youngsik Withdraws From 2021 Korean National Team

Korean media has reported that Jeoung Youngsik (WR 13) has withdrawn from the Korean National Team for the remainder of 2021, meaning he will not play in the upcoming WTT event in Doha in September or the World Championships in November. The stated reason for the withdrawal is to give the younger players a chance.

Korean Table Tennis Executive director Kim Taek-Soo hinted at a disappointing performance by Jeoung at Tokyo as a reason for the withdrawal, but on the surface Jeoung’s results at Tokyo appear to be quite decent. Jeoung outperformed his seeding in the men’s singles event by defeating Timo Boll in the round of 16 before losing to Fan Zhendong 4-0 in the quarter-finals. Jeoung also won all his singles matches in the team event, including a 3-0 win over Koki Niwa in the bronze medal match. However, Jeoung lost both his doubles matches in the bronze medal match and the semi-finals, and he did not play singles against China.

Given Jeoung’s performance at the Olympics, it is possible that Kim’s comments hint that merely beating the non-Chinese competition and getting crushed by the Chinese is not a satisfactory result, and that Korea is setting its ambitions on defeating China.

A translation of the full article is provided below:

Veteran table tennis star Jung Young-sik (29, Mirae Asset Securities) made a big concession. He announced that he would temporarily suspend his national team activities, saying, “I will give my juniors a chance.” He also expressed his intention to return with a new image next year.

Jung Young-sik recently sent a long message to the executives and leaders of the Korea Table Tennis Association, saying that he would not participate in the September Asian Table Tennis Championships (September 28-10.5, Doha, Qatar) and the November World Table Tennis Championships (November 23-11.29, Houston, USA). He has already received automatic qualification for two tournaments as he is ranked second in the world rankings in Korea.

In this regard, Kim Taek-soo, executive director of the Korea Table Tennis Association, who is the head coach of the team under Jeong Young-sik, said in a phone call with Sports Seoul, “Jung Young-sik was chosen as a recommended player for the Tokyo Olympics, and I have felt a lot of pressure from people around me talking about it. It was even more difficult because the results at the Olympics were not good,” he explained.

Jung Young-sik

Executive Director Kim continued, “Jung Young-sik received an automatic entry to the remaining two international competitions this year, adding to the psychological and physical pressure. So, for the sake of Korean table tennis, for the sake of our juniors, I will make concessions this time,” and “I will improve physically and technically and become the national representative fairly from next year,” he said.

At the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jung Young-sik placed third behind Lee Sang-soo (31, Samsung Life Insurance) and Ahn Jae-hyun (22, Samsung Life Insurance) in the qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games earlier this year, but overtook Ahn Jae-hyun, who placed 2nd place, to get the right to participate in the Olympics as a recommended athlete. He also participated in the men’s singles event. However, the Korean men’s team failed to win medals in the individual and team events.

Jung Young-sik was suddenly removed from the national team, so some changes are inevitable in the Korean team’s entry for this year’s international competition. In particular, Jung Young-sik and Lee Sang-soo, who have been working together for a long time in men’s doubles, suffered a lot of damage.

In this regard, the Table Tennis Association held the Performance Improvement Committee (Chairperson Kim Taek-su) again on the 23rd and decided to send Seung-min Cho (23, Armed Forces Athletic Corps) to the Asian Championships and Min-ha Hwang (22, Mirae Asset Securities) to the World Championships as a substitute for Jung Young-sik in the men’s singles.

There was a change in men’s doubles and mixed doubles. At the Asian Championships, Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim and Jaehyun Ahn and Seungmin Cho were selected for the men’s doubles, and Jun Jihee and Yubin Shin, Hyojoo Choi and Shion Choi were selected in the women’s doubles, and Woojin Jang and Jeon Jihee and Ahn Jaehyun and Yubin Shin were selected for the mixed doubles event. At the World Championships, Jang Woo-jin and Im Jong-hoon, Ahn Jae-hyun and Cho Dae-seong, Jeon Ji-hee-Shin Yu-bin and Choi Hyo-joo-Lee Si-on in the men’s doubles, and Jang Woo-jin-Jeon Ji-hee and Cho Dae-seong-Shin Yu-bin in the mixed doubles.

Regarding the subtraction of Lee Sang-soo, Jeon Ji-hee’s partner, from mixed doubles, Kim Taek-soo said, “I was looking forward to it, but the result was disappointing. It was decided by the performance improvement committee to give a new change.”

The men’s singles members participating in the World Championships in November were finally confirmed as five men, including Woojin Jang (Mirae Asset Securities), Sangsu Lee, Jonghoon Lim (KGC Ginseng Corporation), Jaehyun Ahn, and Minha Hwang, who obtained automatic entry rights. Woman Jeon Jihee (POSCO Energy), Suh Hyo-won (Korea Racing Association), Shin Yubin (KAL), Choi Hyojoo (Samsung Life), 5 people including Lee Zion (Samsung Life).

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Chen Meng: China National Games Are Harder Than Olympics

The Chinese Olympic women’s team (Liu Shiwen, Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, and Wang Manyu) recently gathered for a live Tiktok stream on Liu Shiwen’s channel during their post-Olympic quarantine. One of the notable statements made was that Chen and Liu agreed that the China National Games are significantly harder than the Olympics. Per one report,

When talking about the goal of the National Games, Chen Meng said: “I think this is harder than the Olympic Games.”

Liu Shiwen added: “Don’t be modest, don’t be modest. You are too modest! You are the person who aims to double the championship!” This sentence made Chen Meng anxious: “It’s really strong, you said we are in this video. Which of the four is good at playing, let’s not be humble! There are others that are not on the screen, they are not easy to play. To be honest, the level of China’s National Games is higher than that of the Olympics.”

Liu Shiwen also followed to praise the strength of the national table tennis: “In terms of technical level alone, it is much higher than the Olympic Games.”

Liu stated in another recent media appearance that the post-Olympic quarantine is 21 days, and they are expected to be released on August 30. They will then immediately begin preparations for the China National Games, which are to be held September 15-27, 2021.

The women also discussed their chief rival Mima Ito. Sun Yingsha noted that she was very happy to have a rival like Mima Ito to push her to be stronger. Chen joked that she envied that Sun was able to play Ito twice at the Olympics while Chen did not to get face China’s strongest rival and added that she is looking forward to more rivals like Mima Ito emerging. Wang Manyu is also looking forward to playing Ito in the future, and the Chinese are confident that they can beat her.

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$4K ASLT Weekend Tournament Summary

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Thank you to everyone who attended the $4K ASLT Weekend on August 13-15, 2021 in San Diego, California. We had over 100 players from all over Southern California. Special thanks to Nathan Lata for attending our tournament all the way from Arizona! We hope to see you all back again at our next tournament planned for later this year barring an unforeseen change in the pandemic.

Thank you to Asymchem, Flyhomes, and Taste of Hunan for sponsoring this event!

Congratulations to Xiang Jing Zhang for winning the Asymchem Open Singles! Watch the finals here:

Results and select videos for other events can be viewed on the tournament homepage. You can view a list of all recorded matches on this Youtube channel.

This was our first tournament at ASLT in several years, and the first tournament ever by the current tournament staff. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from players and spectators, and we would like to hilight the following positives about our event:

  • A majority of the round robin groups were able to start on time for every single round-robin event but one.
  • We were largely able to fill defaulted players with players on our waitlist, so that players in the round robins almost all got three matches. Across 11 singles events, our tournament only had five defaults that we were unable to fill. We are looking toward implementing measures to lower this number even further in the future.
  • In addition to Asymchem Open Singles champion Xiang Jing Zhang, we were honored to host Udaya Ranasingha (former Sri Lankan National Team member), Kai Zhang (US National Team member), and Sally Moyland (US Junior National Team member). As a result, spectators and waiting players were treated to high-quality matches throughout the afternoon.
  • Delicious, affordable, and convenient food from Taste of Hunan was available for sale during lunch. Non-vegetarian lunch boxes sold out almost instantly due to the extreme popularity of Taste of Hunan.
  • Air conditioning and free water were provided to players.
  • The experimental Brazillian Teams event surpassed our expectations and was an extremely fun and passionate event for both players and spectators. At our next tournament, we hope to add Brazillian Teams Under 6000 as a headliner event on Saturday alongside the Asymchem Open Singles. Please start looking for teams now!

While we are quite satisfied how the tournament turned out, as this was our first time running a tournament at this scale, there was significant room for improvement. We hope to fix the following problems at our next tournament:

  • While we were happy to start almost all of our events on time for most groups, frequently one group in each event was forced to start late since one or two tables would be occupied by the semi-finals and finals of the previous event. These slow groups would result in the events finishing late even though they mostly started on time. While this did not affect most players, we hope to treat our finalists better next time!
  • Players who were seeded out of the group were forced to wait several hours before getting to play.
  • In order to get all our events to start on time, players were quite chaotically yanked around different tables. Due to the chaos, certain results, especially the C vs D matches in the groups, were not properly recorded.
  • Recorded results were not posted online in a timely manner.
  • Players were hungry and thirsty on Saturday night as we ran out of free water and our food sold out too quickly.
  • Lower events on Friday night did not have enough space on their tables. We will not use this table layout next time.

In response to these problems, we hope to make the following changes to our next tournament:

  • We will reduce the total number of entries we accept at any given time-slot to account for the semi-finals and finals of the previous event so that we are able to start more groups at the scheduled start time.
  • Players who are seeded out of the round-robin will not be defaulted if they show up within two hours after the event’s scheduled start-time. Tables should be available for warm-up after all round robins have started playing their final match. We will do our best to notify players before the tournament if they have been seeded. Please keep in mind that players can opt out of being seeded out of the round robin.
  • While it is inevitable for different round robin groups to share tables in order for us to finish our events on time while hosting enough players for a respectable tournament, we will make our table assignments more systematic in order to reduce most of the chaos and allow ourselves to fully record all the results.
  • We plan to have a tournament staff member who’s job is to record results as they come in and make sure all match sheets are completely filled out.
  • As a result of the above two changes, we tentatively hope to make the next tournament USATT-Sanctioned.
  • We plan to provide more food and water for sale on both Saturday and Sunday. We hope to have a tournament staff member available who’s job is to meet players’ food and water needs.

If you have any feedback, we would be happy to hear it. Please fill out this form.

Thanks again for coming! We hope to see you again at our next tournament!

Liu Guoliang Looks Forward After China Wins Olympic Men’s Team Gold

Although Germany sounded optimistic going into their match with China, China defeated Germany 3-0 to sweep their way through the team events. Neither the Chinese men’s or women’s team dropped a single individual match en route to winning gold in both genders.

However, Ovtcharov gave China a brief scare when he took a 2-1 lead against Fan Zhendong, but Fan was able to stay calm and come back. As Liu Guoliang later remarked, if Ovtcharov had won that, then it would have been 1-1, which would have put China in an uncomfortable position. Based on Liu’s remarks, Fan will almost certainly be back in 2024 as a veteran presence.

Liu Guoliang already has his eyes set towards the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. He stated that while the women’s team is in a position of dominance given the youth of Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the men’s team will need to make some adjustments heading into the next Olympic cycle as Ma Long and Xu Xin age into retirement.

Liu in particular praised Sun Yingsha as an idol and role model for the next generation not just in table tennis but all of Chinese athletics. He also praised Chen Meng’s dominance in winning two gold at this Olympic Games, hinting that she may be back for the 2024 Olympics at the age of 31.

Liu also acknowledged the veteran presence of Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning and the impact they have had on the National Team culture. He praised Liu for the journey she took recovering from elbow surgery last Fall, and said although they obviously would rather have won gold in mixed doubles, there is not much to regret since she came out, performed, and gave it her all.

Liu also reflected on his own journey in table tennis, noting that it was his seventh Olympic games. He quipped that when he was a player, he felt that being a player was the most stressful job. Then he became a coach and realized being a coach was the most stressful job. Then he became head coach and then director of the Chinese National Team, and each time he realized that the job was even more stressful.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and follow Edges and Nets on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated. Check out the rest of our Olympic coverage.

If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.

Chinese Women Cruise To Olympic Gold

China defeated Japan 3-0 in the women’s table tennis team event at the Tokyo Olympics to win gold. China breezed through the competition, never dropping even a single individual match during their championship run.

Chen Meng takes her second gold medal of the Olympics, and she noted that the joy she felt for this gold medal was completely different since it was a team medal.

Sun Yingsha again defeated Mima Ito, although this time Ito was at least able to win a game as she lost 3-1. Post-game, Sun remarked, “Every time I compete with her, I can get a lot from it. I also fully prepared for the challenges of the competition. Today, playing against each other again is a brand new challenge!”

After Japan lost, a tearful Ito said, “The final match is over and I am very happy until the end. Of course, if you win it’s better, you will not be satisfied if you lose, but it is still a very happy competition.” Ito walks away from the Olympics with one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal to complete a colorful collection.

Ishikawa added that she was not satisfied either but acknowledged the strength of the Chinese National Team.

Hong Kong defeated Germany to win the bronze medal.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and follow Edges and Nets on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated. Check out the rest of our Olympic coverage.

If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.

Germany and Japan To Face China In Olympic Table Tennis Team Finals

The Olympic table tennis team finals are now set: China will face Japan in the women’s team event and Germany in the men’s team event. China was the top seed in both events, and Japan and Germany were the second seed in their respective events.

China Ready for Japan in the Women’s Finals

Wang Manyu, Sun Yingsha, and Chen Meng

The women’s finals match-up is no surprise as China and Japan were heavy favorites to make the finals, and neither country dropped a single individual match en route to the finals. However, the gap between China and Japan may be just as big as the gap between Japan and the rest of the world.

Following her 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Sun Yingsha in the women’s singles semi-finals, Mima Ito said, “What I was doing was not bad, but the results showed that we are not even close.”

“There’s a gulf in class.”

China appears equally confident. Chen Meng dismissed concerns about line-up match-ups, stating that regardless of whichever two of Chen, Sun, and Wang Manyu face Ito, it’s fine either way. Sun added, “I think the competitive state and mental outlook of the three of us are good. The finals are united and we must be confident while preparing for difficulties.”

However, Japan may still steal a victory in the event of a mental collapse by China. Coach Li Sun cautioned, “The key is to see which of the two teams can fight, and who can do it.”

Ovtcharov Makes History As Germany Readies for China

Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska

Germany ran the same line-up they did against Taiwan to defeat Japan in the semi-finals. The strategy was clear: have the superior Boll/Franziska team win doubles, have Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat up on the other country’s two weaker players, and live with losses to Lin Yun-Ju or Harimoto. The strategy worked perfectly, as Germany is now in the finals despite losing all their matches to Lin and Harimoto.

Ovtcharov has now secured his record sixth Olympic table tennis medal (singles bronze in 2012 and 2020 and team medals in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020). Although Germany’s line-up strategy has been straightforward, the road to the finals has not been easy. Following the win against Japan, Ovtcharov said, “I’m feeling really empty right now, physically and emotionally. It was really, really tough days here.”

While the Japanese women have often been viewed as the biggest threat to Chinese supremacy, the German team believes they have a shot against China. Boll remarked, “If we can be on our peak, all three of us have the skills and the will to win the match. We will definitely go no limits to prove that this is our time.”

Ovtcharov reiterated his belief in the German team on Twitter.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and follow Edges and Nets on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated. Check out the rest of our Olympic coverage.

If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.

Olympic Table Tennis Team Quarterfinal Round-Up

Japan slides Harimoto into doubles, Korea’s young women can’t get it done, and Dimitrij Ovtcharov continues to break Taiwan’s heart. We take a look at the key results from the quarter-final team matchups at the Tokyo Olympics so far. Full bracket and results can be viewed here.

Japanese Men Defeat Sweden 3-1

Harimoto and Niwa celebrate in doubles.

Japan defeated Sweden 3-1 after making the interesting line-up decision to have Tomokazu Harimoto play doubles with Koki Niwa and have Jun Mizutani at the ace position that plays two singles. Normally, the strongest player, in this case Tomokazu Harimoto, plays the ace position.

Japan has been understandably tight-lipped about the reason for the line-up change. It appears to be somewhat related to lack of confidence in the Mizutani/Niwa double-lefty pairing and trust in Mizutani to take care of singles. It may be possible that Japan for some reason does not have confidence in Harimoto as the ace player or that Japan did not want Harimoto to play Falck, but Japan clearly would not be inclined to reveal such reasons.

Regarding his participation in the doubles, Harimoto gave a response that can be interpreted as vanilla or cryptic: “When I think about my current condition and the team, that is the best [for me to play doubles], so I did my best with the feeling that I would take two games together with the singles.”

The line-up change paid off for Japan as they won the doubles match, which in principle should have been bolstered by Harimoto’s presence. Japan then selected Harimoto to play the third match (i.e. Japan purposely chose Niwa and not Harimoto to play Falck) against Anton Kaellberg. Harimoto won 3-1, giving Japan the 2-1 lead in matches.

Niwa then defeated Falck 3-0 to give Japan the 3-1 victory. Mizutani, who played Falck in the second match, told Niwa that Falck’s forehand was not in good condition, which Niwa said he exploited.

Going into the semi-finals, Niwa said, “I was able to beat the top-ten player in the world ranking. I’m confident.”

Japan will face Germany in the semi-finals in a rematch of the 2016 semi-finals.

Korean Women’s Youth Falter In 3-2 Loss to Germany

Shin Yubin takes a forehand against Han Ying.

Germany defeated Korea 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the women’s team event. Korea opted to place their weakest player, Choi Hyojoo, at the ace position, due to the strength of the Shin Yubin/Jeon Jihee pairing. Korea, like the Japanese men, opted to have their strongest player, Jeon Jihee, avoid the ace position.

After Korea won the doubles 3-2 and Han Ying defeated Choi Hyojoo 3-0, Jeon defeated Petrissa Solja 3-0 to give Korea the 2-1 lead. Han Ying defeated Shin 3-1 to level it at 2-2, and then Shan Xiaona defeated Choi 3-0 to give Germany the 3-2 victory.

Afterwards, a disappointed Shin said, “I should have won the 4th singles team event, but I couldn’t. I’m sorry that I couldn’t finish the game that my sisters had all caught up with.” 

“I played a difficult game with difficult players. I will use the Tokyo Olympics as an experience and train to compete better in the future.”

Korean leadership, while surely disappointed, was also optimistic about the future of their young squad. Korean table tennis secretary general (don’t ask what that position means) stated, “Han Ying is a very strong player. She did very well, adapting quickly against an experienced player. We will grow even more with this tournament as an opportunity.”

Dimitrij Ovtcharov Continues to Break Taiwan’s Heart

The Germany vs Taiwan doubles match-up

Germany opened the team match against Taiwan with a good start after winning the first doubles game 11-0 before going on to win 3-1. While Lin Yun-Ju was able to get his revenge against Dimtrij Ovtcharov and win both his singles matches as the ace player, Germany was ultimately able to pull out a win with Ovtcharov defeating Chuang Chih-Yuan 3-0 in the deciding fifth match.

Ovtcharov continues to be a thorn in the side for Taiwanese table tennis. After Ovtcharov sent defeated in the London 2012 bronze-medal match and Lin in this years bronze-medal match, Ovtcharov again denied Taiwan a chance at a medal with a 3-0 victory over Chuang in the deciding fifth match.

After losing to Japan in the semi-finals at the Rio Olympics, Germany is hungry for revenge in their semi-final match-up this year.

“We lost to Japan five years ago in Rio, and we want to make it better this time,” Ovtcharov said.

“For Japan, it’s the most important match in their home Olympics. We’re also a little bit happy that the hall is not completely full,” Boll joked.

“But yeah, we will prepare like we always did, we give it our best and try everything.”

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and follow Edges and Nets on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated. Check out the rest of our Olympic coverage.

If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.

Kanak Jha Upsets Mattias Falck In USA’s Losing Effort to Sweden

Sweden defeated USA 3-1 in the opening round of 16 of the men’s team event at the Tokyo Olympics. Sweden won quite comfortably, with Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kaellberg defeating Zhou Xin and Nikhil Kumar 3-0 in doubles, Kaellberg defeating Zhou 3-0 in singles, and Karlsson defeating Kanak Jha 3-0 in singles. Sweden will face Japan in the quarter-finals.

However, Jha was able to pull off a 3-1 upset against Falck in the match between the two ace players (i.e. the players that play two singles matches). We provide a full recap of the match below.

Game 1

Jha built an early 3-1 lead in the first game off of two pet plays that he would rely on throughout the match: a long fast serve to the elbow and a slow opening to Falck’s elbow.

However, Jha made a slew of errors including a couple of missed backhand openings, a push into the net, and a missed forehand flick to find himself down 7-5.

At 7-5, Jha then missed a block from the elbow and a backhand counter-roll to fall into a deeper 9-5 hole. Jha won a backhand-backhand rally, but missed another counter into the net to go down 10-6. Falck then missed a backhand roll into the net, and then Jha got a bit lucky as Falck missed a backhand loop against a high-short push from Jha, and Jha won another net ball to close the gap to 10-9. On the fourth game point, Falck surprised Jha with a deep long push to Jha’s forehand. Jha was able to land a decent quality loop wide to Jha’s forehand, but he was not able to recover in time as he missed the follow-up backhand kill, giving Falck the first game 11-9.

Game 2

A series of ambitious shots paid off for Jha early in game 2 as he landed two forehand flick kills, a hard backhand counter-roll wide, and hard loop to Falck’s elbow in the first ten points. Coupled with his usual pet plays, Jha was able to take a commanding 8-2 lead in game 2.

Falck tried to switch things up with a backhand serve down 8-2. He won the first point to make it 8-3 and then threw away any possible momentum by missing his next serve. Falck missed yet another long fast serve return from the middle to make it 10-3.

Jha then flicked into the net to make it 10-4, and despite getting a net ball on the next point, lost another backhand-backhand rally to make it 10-5. Falck then won another two points off aggressive responses to Jha’s chiquita, making it 10-7.

Jha called time-out and came back with a half-long serve to the forehand that he had previously not yet served into the net; however, Falck gave an equally surprising soft open down-the-line to the backhand, and Jha blocked it into the net. On the next point, Jha pushed the ball half-long to Falck’s forehand again, Falck opened to Jha’s backhand again, and this time Jha was able to land in a backhand counter-roll that Falck hit into the net, giving Jha the second game 11-8.

Game 3

Falck won the first point of the third game with a nice rally from far behind the table, and then Jha missed a chiquita to give Falck a 2-0 lead. Jha then proceeded to win two straight points off slow spins, two straight points off of nice forehand winners, and two straight points off of wide long fast serves that Falck hit out.

Falck and Jha were able to hold their own serve on the next eight points (with Jha receiving some help from an edge-ball), giving Jha a 10-6 advantage. Falck won another lucky point of his own to help narrow the gap to 10-9. However, he pushed Jha’s next serve into the net to lose the game 11-9, resulting in another failed comeback and a 2-1 lead for Jha in games.

Game 4

Jha and Falck exchanged several missed openings and first blocks to start game 6 as Jha built an early 5-4 lead, prompting Falck to call time-out. After the time-out, Jha and Falck had a nice exchange of well-placed shots, with Jha coming out on top with the 6-4 lead.

Falck was then able to go on a 4-1 mini-run to take an 8-7 lead thanks to two missed openings from Jha and a pretty long rally from way behind the table from Falck. Jha then ripped a half-long serve on the next point to level it at 8-8. Jha won the next point thanks to his bread-and-butter long fast serve to the elbow to go up 9-8.

Jha then gave a long serve and a half-long push to Falck’s elbow on the next two points. Falck, who had mostly been stepping around to take the slower elbow shots with his forehand earlier in the match, stepped to the right to take two surprising big backhands. Jha missed both blocks, giving Falck a 10-9 advantage.

Jha saved one game point with an opening to the elbow, Falck earned himself another game point with a long rally, and then Jha saved another game point with an opening to the elbow, making it 11-11.

Jha and Falck exchanged missed openings to keep it level at 12-12. Jha then got a net ball during a backhand-backhand exchange to take match point. He was then able to convert match point with a wide forehand kill against Falck’s opening from the elbow. Jha won the game 14-12 and the match, leveling the team match score at 1-1.

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If you are based in the United States, be sure to also check out our exclusive interview with Kanak Jha and a tournament that Edges and Nets will participate in hosting in San Diego in mid-August.