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    1. Top | #1
      vik2000 is offline
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      How do you return top-spin serve to your forehand close to the net?

      I noticed this has been clearly one of my biggest weaknesses. I come across players like this from time to time.

      They mainly do backhand serve, which I hate to begin with because I often struggle in distinguishing whether it's a topspin or backspin serve. The one serve I particularly struggle is when they do a short top spin backhand serve to my forehand. What I currently do is to do a light touch chop, but this always leads to the ball flying up high enough for the opponent to kill the shot.

      How do you folks deal with this?

    2. Top | #2
      Takkyu_wa_inochi is offline
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      not easy but if you are sure that its topspin then what you should do is a block / flick
      because of BH serve there is also sidespin often in the equation.
      as always for short receive, step to the ball by putting your right leg below the table, upper body bent down. move the racket quickly to the ball, open the wrist wide for more control. The bat angle should be closed. Then you have 2 main options:
      - push the ball long straight, its just a simple horizontal move, once you have locked the bat angle, just push gently. you can even take the ball slightly on the left side to counter the sidespin
      - flick the ball easier to do cross court but thats probably where the guy is waiting for you. dont try to flick the ball hard at the beginning only pros do that. just try to put it on the table first and get quickly back in position, i think aiming for the middle is better than cross court where the guy is waiting for you. or more difficult aim very wide on the side of the table just behind the net. you can flick straight but its way more difficult and you should wipe the ball with side spin (from right to left) for more safety when doing this.

    3. Top | #3
      langel is online now
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      When I know its a top-spin serve I send it to the corner with an aggressive sharp top-spin. More body forth&swing and short but fast arm.

    4. Top | #4
      Lightzy is offline
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      If u cant angle a counter easily and are used to pushing short serves, push it.

      Tilt ur blade to the vertical and chop down on the ball (like a chop block). U'll get a very fast return loaded with much more backspin that anywone but a high level player wont know how to spin.

      But you have to get used to hitting the table surface with your blade. It's practically a sign you're doing it right.
      Last edited by Lightzy; 1 Week Ago at 05:00 PM.

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    6. Top | #5
      FruitLoop is offline
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      Forehand flick usually, you can also do a chop push type action sometimes and get a really good angled return using their spin against them but this is tricky and I wouldn't do it as standard.

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    8. Top | #6
      suds79 is online now
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      Yeah short serves to my FH that are topspin i usually over the table FH flick. It's really a shot you should have.

      Don't make too much out of it. It's kinda like a normal FH drive with a small swing. It won't be the most powerful thing ever but the key is that it has decent pace and more than anything, goes to a spot that's not in their wheelhouse as they're probably looking to 3rd ball attack it.

      So hit it to their BH if they're a FH player or often aim for their hip/crossover point.

      I'd also like to give kudos to Lightzy because he touches on something you should be aware of. Some players (in fact most that I've found) simply like topspin so they will serve either topspin or dead expecting you to attack and boom you're into the point style they like where they're ready to counter.

      If you can't get the distinct advantage from your flip or 1st attack and you're finding you're playing right into their style of point, keep in mind you can push a topspin ball if your touch is good enough. It just takes incredible touch. The aim is to not give them the style of point they're comfortable with essentially.

      I had a fellow penholder once do this to me and it surprised me as I was not expecting the ball to be this loaded. And this is coming from someone who actually prefers looping backspin compared to topspin. But the combination of my side/top serve to him aided by his over the table chop or push was extremely heavy on spin. I put a few loops into the net which honestly just doesn't happen to me all that often. Generally if I miss, I miss long vs backspin.
      Last edited by suds79; 1 Week Ago at 04:54 PM.

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    10. Top | #7
      Lightzy is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by suds79 View Post
      I had a fellow penholder once do this to me and it surprised me as I was not expecting the ball to be this loaded. And this is coming from someone who actually prefers looping backspin compared to topspin. But the combination of my side/top serve to him aided by his over the table chop or push was extremely heavy on spin. I put a few loops into the net which honestly just doesn't happen to me all that often. Generally if I miss, I miss long vs backspin.

      Yep. That is one surprising ball. It's like getting a chop from a very good chopper, but easy to execute because the ball has little forward momentum. It's as loaded with backspin like a topspin-vs-backspin would be loaded with topspin.
      It's one of my favorite ways to return serves because the ball goes in a straight diagonal line, loaded with backspin and easy to place long.
      I dunno that it requires great touch, for me what made it possible is not being worried about hitting the table surface with the side of my racket :P



      BTW it's not such a specialty 'out there' return. This is the mainstream at the top level. See for example how Ma Long returns FZDs side/topspin short serves (that cool looking guillotine reverse pendulum thing, which is mostly side/top).
      He chops down on them hard with a vertical angle. Chop block. That's the way he returns these serves nearly every single time (if not every single time).
      Last edited by Lightzy; 1 Week Ago at 05:20 PM.

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    12. Top | #8
      vik2000 is offline
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      These comments are extremely helpful. Thanks so much and I'll definitely take into account of the suggestions next time.

      On the topic of BH serve. How do you guys observe the opponent when they serve? Oftentimes it seems to me the motion of their BH serve and even the angle of the blade are very similar, but it could either be top or downspin. I suppose this could come with experience but man I really do hate the BH serves.

    13. Top | #9
      Lightzy is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by vik2000 View Post
      These comments are extremely helpful. Thanks so much and I'll definitely take into account of the suggestions next time.

      On the topic of BH serve. How do you guys observe the opponent when they serve? Oftentimes it seems to me the motion of their BH serve and even the angle of the blade are very similar, but it could either be top or downspin. I suppose this could come with experience but man I really do hate the BH serves.

      Look at when the ball hits the racket. If it's a good player than the backhand serve will usually end in lifting the elbow (and the racket) to make it look like topspin. It'll be topspin if the ball hits the racket during that upswing, but otherwise it'll just be sidespin or weak backspin.

      If it's a strong backspin serve it'll have a different sort of motion that's more easy to read, so that's no problem.

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