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    1. Top | #1
      jawien is offline
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      Japan Open 2018 - a beginning of the new trend?

      Once again my congratulations to Mima Ito and Tomokazu! Great tournament and epoch results! Watching World Tours thanks to them (and others) will be interesting again.


      I wasn't planning to create this topic, but we had some discussion yesterday (in the Japan Open 2018 thread) about the changes in t tennis and some arguing how the new ball affected the tactics and strategy of the game ... and indirectly the JPO 2018 results ; ) Looks like it is a hot one, since EmRatThich Table Tennis Coach recently uploaded the video (below) about this on his youtube channel. What I was writing before was based on my intuition, but EmRatThich approaches the subject methodologically and his conclusions are interesting.


      Besides his great explanation of the new trend fundamentals, the video i.e. nicely hints (using ZJK example, but works for ML too) why ML was able to win his titles 2015-17 despite the introduction of the poly and why, the new generation players now use is so effectively against "old time celluloid" masters ... it was the issue we argued about, and I probably had no good answer. EmRatThich seem to support my view.

      To be honest, I don't like poly/abs balls and thanks to EmRatThich I know why. My game was/is rather the control game (also using spin) and as you'll see in the material, the new trent is quite not into the "control business" ... what do you think about this new direction?


      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGxAvayVVkI
      Last edited by jawien; 06-10-2018 at 03:18 PM.

    2. Top | #2
      Andy44 is offline
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      "Old time celluloid master" Timo Boll is still using a spin based game pretty effectively, so I wouldn't completely write it off. Meanwhile, the 40+ ball is doing what it was designed to do which is to promote longer rallies. It does this by by damping down speed and spin, and that's changed the balance especially in the serve receive game. But it hasn't changed the laws of physics. True, you can use more of your opponent's power by taking the ball earlier off the bounce, but your maximum power zone remains in the same place, later in the trajectory, closer to your body. I'd guess not even Harimoto has discovered the optimum way to use the 40+ ball in every situation, and that as he gets stronger he'll add more late trajectory striking to his off the bounce game, especially on the forehand side.

      I don't agree with ERT that ZJK's technique accounts for his current limitations. I think he's working his way back from injury, and he's still not moving very well. If he can stay healthy and recover some quickness then his technique might not seem so old-fashioned after all.

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    4. Top | #3
      Konrad Bak is offline
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      I like ERT but sometimes people use his words just to show how they shouldn't talk too much about table tennis.

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    6. Top | #4
      Ilia Minkin is offline
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      Hopefully not.

    7. Top | #5
      mart1nandersson is offline
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      Shouldn't SP flat hitters like Mattias Karlsson thrive with the new ball following ERT's logic (which I think is nonsense)?

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    9. Top | #6
      jawien is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by mart1nandersson View Post
      Shouldn't SP flat hitters like Mattias Karlsson thrive with the new ball following ERT's logic (which I think is nonsense)?
      But precisely Mattias has done good results lately I think and is quite visible on the scene.

      The only thing I'm not convinced about, is if the rallies are in fact longer? Sure about it Andy44? For me it seems like serve and banana. I would like to see the statistics. Besides today ZJK proved he can still play, his bh should be a greater weapon now.

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    11. Top | #7
      Andy44 is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by jawien View Post
      The only thing I'm not convinced about, is if the rallies are in fact longer? Sure about it Andy44? For me it seems like serve and banana. I would like to see the statistics.
      If anyone tracks those statistics I'd like to see them, too. Without them I'm not sure rallies are longer but it seems that way to me. Also to ZJK who said (in an interview at the China Open, translated by zeio), "In the past, a point might finish in 1 or 2 shots. With the current ball, 3 or 4 shots are typical. Long rallies take a big toll on the body."

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    13. Top | #8
      Loopadoop is offline
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      I don't think the rallies are longer. There seems to be more unforced errors now than with the cell.

      I don't think Jike is fully back with his backhand play close to the table. Jike's serves were weak against Harimoto.

    14. Top | #9
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      People don't fully want to accept that what Harimoto is doing is a work of genius. The kid has supernatural spin reading abilities and timing and probably has far above average in game reactions to reading opponents and the ball even for top level players. He is taking balls that others would step back to take off the bounce and no one else is doing it half as well as he is. He is reading the trajectories perfectly.

      If it was as easy as he makes it seem, everyone else would be doing it. Miu Hirano managed to do it extremely well in one tournament and beat the Chinese and hasn't had the same success since then which if some of us remember, Liu Guoliang said she probably doesn't really know what she had discovered. I think Harimoto just plays that way but because he hadn't beaten the universe then, people didn't want to give him credit.

      Some people complain that when Harimoto is backed off the table or out of position on the forehand side, he flat hits the ball to bail out. While he is working on that, what you need to do to see how important what he is doing is and how much talent it takes is to see whether anyone else is doing it even semi successfully. Ma Long bails out with a high arcing loop. Many players just sidespin the ball back and hope for the best. Harimoto is taking a low risk shot and doing as well as many top players in that situation. And he is learning to counterloop too, as his forehand has been his biggest area of progress ever since joining the Japanese National Teams.

      When Zhang Jike lost badly to Harimoto people said Jike was washed up. But everyone watching the match live saw that Harimoto was too fast for Jike. And Jike diagnosed the match afterwards pretty honestly. He said he had no game plan per se and that he was too slow to keep up with that speed and the result was normal. But that because it was a loss, people would just say all the bad things. Now he almost won, people are saying the right things, but really, treating TT as anything other than a process is a waste of time.

      The thing with Harimoto's game is whether he will have the power to finish the point if opponents try to feed him weaker balls so he can't borrow their energy as much. And everything so far points to yes, he will. He has point finishing power and uses angles extremely well. I think people will need to find his elbow better close to the table but since he likes to find angles early it will be really hard to do that.

      Harimoto takes balls down the line that I have never seen anyone take before. In fact, you could see that in the rematch, Jike was ready to go down the line first which he wasn't ready to do in their first match. But Harimoto can go down the line off the bounce.

      Let's see if anyone other country or player can do what Harimoto is doing. I am not convinced that it is as easy as some people are making it out to be. The closest comparison I can think of is Lin Gaoyuan. But he is not the best player on CNT.
      Last edited by NextLevel; 06-11-2018 at 01:57 PM.

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    16. Top | #10
      RidTheKid is offline
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      Is Harimoto GOAT 2.0?

    17. Top | #11
      Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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      thanks NL, fine analysis, i couldn't agree more !

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    19. Top | #12
      NextLevel is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by RidTheKid View Post
      Is Harimoto GOAT 2.0?
      Someone called it premature but let's review the evidence.

      Youngest WJTTC singles winner.
      Youngest world tour event winner (beating Boll, Zhang Jike in the finals).
      Youngest WTTC quarter finalist.
      Youngest World Team Cup silver medalist.
      Youngest Japanese National Champion.

      And he is obliterating these records, it's not even close. However things turn out, this is easily the greatest TT prodigy of all time. And he is already an all time great no matter how his life turns out, the question is how great.

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    21. Top | #13
      RidTheKid is offline
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      I fully agree with you. The talent that kid has is uncanny. You can't practice that intuition and those instincts that he has. Technique is one thing but he reads the game so well, his "TT brain" really is something else.

      It'll be very interesting to follow his journey, that's fore sure!

      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Someone called it premature but let's review the evidence.

      Youngest WJTTC singles winner.
      Youngest world tour event winner (beating Boll, Zhang Jike in the finals).
      Youngest WTTC quarter finalist.
      Youngest World Team Cup silver medalist.
      Youngest Japanese National Champion.

      And he is obliterating these records, it's not even close. However things turn out, this is easily the greatest TT prodigy of all time. And he is already an all time great no matter how his life turns out, the question is how great.

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    23. Top | #14
      cfagyal is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Someone called it premature but let's review the evidence.

      Youngest WJTTC singles winner.
      Youngest world tour event winner (beating Boll, Zhang Jike in the finals).
      Youngest WTTC quarter finalist.
      Youngest World Team Cup silver medalist.
      Youngest Japanese National Champion.

      And he is obliterating these records, it's not even close. However things turn out, this is easily the greatest TT prodigy of all time. And he is already an all time great no matter how his life turns out, the question is how great.
      Fully agree. Too many people want to discount anything he does and make excuses as to why he won. So and so was injured, so and so let him win, and other ridiculous statements like that. He's beaten the top two players in the world in major events, and did so convincingly at the age of 14. People should admire this kid for how great he already is.

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    25. Top | #15
      Richie is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by RidTheKid View Post
      I fully agree with you. The talent that kid has is uncanny. You can't practice that intuition and those instincts that he has. Technique is one thing but he reads the game so well, his "TT brain" really is something else.

      It'll be very interesting to follow his journey, that's fore sure!
      It's a matter of lots of little things, isn't it. The intuition comes from the practice and of course the support he's had from his parents, his experience from playing etc. It all adds up.

      There was little doubt in my mind from when he beat Jens Lundqvist that he had massive potential. If I'm not mistaken, Waldner said it too and that HT reminded him of himself. It wouldn't surprise me if he had a few big slumps, I'm just hoping this together with all the attention he gets with that as well, doesn't bring him down. In some sense there's still relatively little pressure on him as he's so young. The pressure will accumulate however, especially once he begins winning the very big events.

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    27. Top | #16
      RidTheKid is offline
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      Players practice 4-8 hours a day for 15 years but we don't see anyone else playing the same way as Harimoto on the Pro Tour. I doubt TH is the only one that practice on taking the ball early and/or using both corners, difference is TH reads the game so well WHEN to hit the balls there, he made the worlds greatest players look like amateurs.

      Waldner, yes. Another master at reading the game.

      Quote Originally Posted by Richie View Post
      It's a matter of lots of little things, isn't it. The intuition comes from the practice and of course the support he's had from his parents, his experience from playing etc. It all adds up.

      There was little doubt in my mind from when he beat Jens Lundqvist that he had massive potential. If I'm not mistaken, Waldner said it too and that HT reminded him of himself. It wouldn't surprise me if he had a few big slumps, I'm just hoping this together with all the attention he gets with that as well, doesn't bring him down. In some sense there's still relatively little pressure on him as he's so young. The pressure will accumulate however, especially once he begins winning the very big events.

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    29. Top | #17
      Andy44 is offline
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      No doubt Harimoto is the best ever tt prodigy, his results speak for themselves. But worth noting that Harimoto has come along at the right time. The 40+ ball has unsettled things in a sport where technical precision is paramount, and I think it's opened the door for a unique talent like Harimoto to go further faster than would have been possible in previous decades.

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    31. Top | #18
      NextLevel is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Andy44 View Post
      No doubt Harimoto is the best ever tt prodigy, his results speak for themselves. But worth noting that Harimoto has come along at the right time. The 40+ ball has unsettled things in a sport where technical precision is paramount, and I think it's opened the door for a unique talent like Harimoto to go further faster than would have been possible in previous decades.
      Possibly true, but everyone is playing with the same ball so it is best to judge people in relation to their peers. And to be honest, I don't always agree that the idiosyncrasies of celluloid when reacting with rubber that made spin more effective were always a good thing for our sport. But everyone has a different opinion on this. I think the new ball just behaves more consistently but to each his own.

      There has always been a tendency to take the ball earlier and earlier in TT, people would call Gatien an anomaly when he started doing what he did. But it is always conceptually possible regardless of the ball, but reading the spin is a challenge.
      Last edited by NextLevel; 06-11-2018 at 03:14 PM.

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    33. Top | #19
      Baal is offline
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      People leap to grand conclusions from limited data and one or two matches. ITTF has been using 40+ balls since 2014. ABS versions are if anything closer to celluloid. What always happens is new great players emerge. Harimoto would be just as good with celluloid.

      Some people here struggle because they didnt switch to 40+ when they first came out. Pro players did.

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    35. Top | #20
      Baal is offline
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      NL is exactly right. Watch video of Gatien (still my favorite FH of all time). This is not new. It always works. But it is not easy to perfect.
      Last edited by Baal; 06-11-2018 at 03:59 PM.

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