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    1. Top | #221
      driversbeat is online now
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      That is indeed impressive, but my point (c) in that you haven't proven yourself against a CNT player until you beat them more than once still stands.

      ITO is undeniably impressive but her feats of winning several main CNT players in an Open have been accomplished before (Jiang Huajun, Fukuhara, Feng Tianwei).

      I really hope ITO lives up to all the hype by winning a medal (or title) of a world cup or major asian game at least but she's been consistently cockblocked via participation of Hirano as well as unranked qualifiers like Sun Yingsha.
      Last edited by driversbeat; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:23 AM.

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    3. Top | #222
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      Quote Originally Posted by driversbeat View Post
      That is indeed impressive, but my point (c) in that you haven't proven yourself against a CNT player until you beat them more than once still stands.

      ITO is undeniably impressive but her feats of winning several main CNT players in an Open have been accomplished before (Jiang Huajun, Fukuhara, Feng Tianwei).

      I really hope ITO lives up to all the hype by winning a medal (or title) of a world cup or major asian game at least but she's been consistently cockblocked via participation of Hirano as well as unranked qualifiers like Sun Yingsha.
      Note that a couple of the players you listed are Chinese exports, so you are really left with Fukuhara. Your point is taken, and maybe the standard for threat is set too low. Maybe the CNT is just so bored that they are looking for an opportunity to rally your team around an enemy. But I think there is clear evidence that it really is not that straightforward. For me, I see the matches and I can see that they are competitive. And the problems Ito faces are not insoluble things, though it will be nothing new if they do not get her results vs CNT. Let's see whether Ito will beat another CNT player this year or play a competitive match after being solved. I think that will answer the question better than arguing.
      Cobra Kai TT Exponent - No mercy in this dojo, no matter your rating or the score. All spin, no power or footwork.

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    5. Top | #223
      driversbeat is online now
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      Definitely. You raised two points that crossed my mind but didn't manage to address. Hayata hasn't beaten anyone in CNT's core besides Liu Shiwen but everyone can see that she's more competitive than Ishikawa or even Hirano. But that's the limitations of data for you. Going into games ratio would have been too tedious for me to handle.

      Apart from Kim Kyungah and Tamara Boros, everyone else in the list outside of JNT was an import. Which speaks to how immense the gulf was between CNT and the rest of the world; a gap which JNT has successfully filled in recent years, but they are still a long way from toppling CNT.

      Also I'd like to clarify that I'm not one for arguing. I'm just a TT nerd who had a little extra time at work today and decided to contribute to the analysis on this thread.
      Last edited by driversbeat; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:33 PM.

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    7. Top | #224
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      The subject was not whether Ito or Harimoto supposedly have fundamental flaws - even Xu Xin has a relatively weak backhand and he has been CNT A his whole life.

      It was whether the Chinese team considered Ito a serious threat. You make it sound as if anyone was even scaring or winning matches against the Chinese in the last decade before Hirano and Ito came along. Guo Yan and Li Sun were speaking on this context.

      As for the future, who really knows. If you want we can place money on a Harimoto bet. I consider most of his perceived weaknesses to be a sign of youth. You may disagree. But I think it is easy to take a popular opinion (no one can beat the CNT) and then act like those who are 20% successful are failures because you set the bar at 80%. Forgetting that historically maybe no one got to 5%.
      I'm not saying Ito and Harimoto weren't a threat. But are they still a threat now that most CNT players have learned to exploit their substantial weaknesses? If so, how big of a threat are they for the 2020 Olympic?

      Of course there are many ways Ito and Harimoto could address their technical flaws in the long run. But I don't see any short term fixes they could employ to help with their 2020 Tokyo ambitions.

    8. Top | #225
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      Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect View Post
      I'm not saying Ito and Harimoto weren't a threat. But are they still a threat now that most CNT players have learned to exploit their substantial weaknesses? If so, how big of a threat are they for the 2020 Olympic?

      Of course there are many ways Ito and Harimoto could address their technical flaws in the long run. But I don't see any short term fixes they could employ to help with their 2020 Tokyo ambitions.
      Well the truth is that no one knows whether a fix at the professional level is short term or long term. You may very well be right but you can also be wrong. Your position is conservative like mine (China has a huge edge) but we differ in our analysis of the gap. What you don't see could very well be a function of your inability to see as much as anything objective. Good coaches have told me that when they fix a player, the player usually plays worse but that they don't know how much longer the player will play worse etc. But given the amount of training time these athletes put in, just about anything is fixable of it is reasonably so.

      China is the favorite. Nothing changes that. But no need to pretend you have some special insight into what Harimoto and Ito can or can't do on the basis of that. For me, the one thing I am 95% sure of is that Harimoto will be physically stronger next year than he is this year. People trivialize the impact of that. Let's wait and see.

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    10. Top | #226
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Well the truth is that no one knows whether a fix at the professional level is short term or long term. You may very well be right but you can also be wrong. Your position is conservative like mine (China has a huge edge) but we differ in our analysis of the gap. What you don't see could very well be a function of your inability to see as much as anything objective. Good coaches have told me that when they fix a player, the player usually plays worse but that they don't know how much longer the player will play worse etc. But given the amount of training time these athletes put in, just about anything is fixable of it is reasonably so.

      China is the favorite. Nothing changes that. But no need to pretend you have some special insight into what Harimoto and Ito can or can't do on the basis of that. For me, the one thing I am 95% sure of is that Harimoto will be physically stronger next year than he is this year. People trivialize the impact of that. Let's wait and see.
      Ok, you provided a long response with shockingly little insight into the actual issue.
      I don't pretend to have any extra insight. I know what everybody knows: 1) Harimoto is weak to short services to his FH and he is relatively weak in topspin rallies away from table. 2) Ito is weak to long backspin services to her BH. Her lethality also decreases significantly once forced away from the table.
      3) Top CNT members (and even some 2nd tier members) have capitalized on these weaknesses to neutralize Harimoto and Ito in recent international events. Based on Harimoto and Ito's performance against top CNT players in recent months, I'd say the new tactic is a success. This leads me to believe Harimoto and Ito, although still a major threat to CNT's dominance in the long run, are no longer a major threat in 2020 Olympic.

      If you think Ito and Harimoto will still be a significant threat in 2020 Olympic despite the aforementioned weaknesses, please provide specific techniques or tactics that Harimoto and Ito can learn/employ to counter CNT's tactics. Please don't give me a bunch of vague opinions that "some coaches" said about "some players" that you somehow think applies to this specific situation about these two specific players' growth.

    11. Top | #227
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      Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect View Post
      Ok, you provided a long response with shockingly little insight into the actual issue.
      I don't pretend to have any extra insight. I know what everybody knows: 1) Harimoto is weak to short services to his FH and he is relatively weak in topspin rallies away from table. 2) Ito is weak to long backspin services to her BH. Her lethality also decreases significantly once forced away from the table.
      3) Top CNT members (and even some 2nd tier members) have capitalized on these weaknesses to neutralize Harimoto and Ito in recent international events. Based on Harimoto and Ito's performance against top CNT players in recent months, I'd say the new tactic is a success. This leads me to believe Harimoto and Ito, although still a major threat to CNT's dominance in the long run, are no longer a major threat in 2020 Olympic.

      If you think Ito and Harimoto will still be a significant threat in 2020 Olympic despite the aforementioned weaknesses, please provide specific techniques or tactics that Harimoto and Ito can learn/employ to counter CNT's tactics. Please don't give me a bunch of vague opinions that "some coaches" said about "some players" that you somehow think applies to this specific situation about these two specific players' growth.
      Let's give an example not related to Ito or Harimoto. Quadri Aruna had a backhand so deficient 6 months prior to the Olympics that Chuan Chi Yuan beat Aruna so badly (in Aruna's words, CCY brought his own ball and didn't let Aruna play). At the Olympics, CCY was asked how he lost to Aruna 0-4 and CCY said that Aruna's backhand play surprised him. Was anyone going to bet on Aruna developing sufficiently good backhand play to beat CCY or Boll prior to the Olympics?

      In recent months, Mima Ito has beaten Ding Ning and Sun Minyang and Wang Yidi on CNT. She also lost to Wang Yidi, Gu Yuting, Sun Yingsha, and possibly a few others I cannot remember. So did all these players fail to deploy the correct tactics? Other than Wang Yidi, did these tactics lead to 4-0 victories? Is it really just the tactics or do the players have to execute perfectly on a specfic day?

      If Ito can't return long backspin serves to set up a pattern that allows her to win points (say, vs Wang Yidi or Gu Yuting), then the coach can work on ways of her returning those serves to set up patterns that she can control, either with a quality pips loops/chiquita/flat attacks or with a higher quality loop vs backspin off a pivot. Can Ito actually develop this? Who knows? Are there other solutions? Possibly. Her game has never been designed to rally off the table, so spending time working on this doesn't make sense. But if there are point patterns that support or require it, maybe. I suspect most of the effort will be spent on making sure she needs to back up less and less.

      Harimoto lost to Sun Wen spectacularly, but when we avoid focusing on that loss, his performance against the CNT has been pretty decent. He has lost to LGY 2-4, beat ZY 4-1, lost to ML 1-3 and 1-4, FZD 1-4. Well he also hasn't beaten XX.

      Every player is relatively weak on short serves to the forehand and Harimoto is no exception. He has used his chiquita on some short balls to the forehand and he has a good short push. The issue for Harimoto is that he is naturally weaker than most of this CNT counterparts from a physical standpoint given his age and muscle mass so this makes him unable to generate quality similar to theirs off the table. So when forced to rally, he usually performs significantly worse. Maybe he won't get that much stronger over the next year. Maybe his game won't evolve sufficiently to support rallying off the table. But given that he is 16 and he has time to work on his game, there is no reason he can't work on this over the next year. After all, his coach said after a recent loss to ML that Harimoto has to incorporate more of the patterns of ML into his game. What I don't get is why a 16 year old with good technique is suddenly possessed with "fatal flaws". There is no inherent reason why Harimoto can incorporate more of Lin Gaoyuan's approach to TT since they are both very similar in a variety of ways.

      The fact that you are looking for specific tactics is a bit silly, with all due respect. IF Ma Long is pushing long to Fan Zhendong, is that a specific tactic that Ma Long should be getting away with? Yet Ma Long does it often and has gotten away with it so far. Every player and matchup has its own rhythm. You cannot tell what a player will develop in response to his opponents. When Quadri improved his backhand play, it was largely his blocking and punching that became more consistent and far less about his backhand loop. Players just work on stuff and if it fits into their game and the tactics they deploy, great. And if they can't execute it, great.

      In the last 2 years, one would struggle to find any single player who has beaten as many CNT players as Harimoto or Ito have. And one would struggle to also expect the CNT to be seriously challenged by any country in 2020, Harimoto notwithstanding. But maybe you mean by threat that Harimoto and Ito should have a 50% plus chance of winning, which is not what the CNT means by threat. By threat, the CNT never expects to be threatened to lose. I have explained previously that the reason why Harimoto and Ito are dangerous is that they are young and they evolve so the CNT is always trying to be ready to adapt to them. They also always have a non-zero chance of beating CNT members. It is when you treat them as static that you run the danger of losing to them as they continue to work on their games and build new weapons and solutions into them.

      The good thing is that you at least have hope for them in the long run. As for the short run, I think you are more confident than I am that they can't do anything to trouble the Chinese.

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    13. Top | #228
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      If Ito can't return long backspin serves to set up a pattern that allows her to win points (say, vs Wang Yidi or Gu Yuting), then the coach can work on ways of her returning those serves to set up patterns that she can control, either with a quality pips loops/chiquita/flat attacks or with a higher quality loop vs backspin off a pivot. Can Ito actually develop this? Who knows? Are there other solutions? Possibly. Her game has never been designed to rally off the table, so spending time working on this doesn't make sense. But if there are point patterns that support or require it, maybe. I suspect most of the effort will be spent on making sure she needs to back up less and less.

      Every player is relatively weak on short serves to the forehand and Harimoto is no exception. He has used his chiquita on some short balls to the forehand and he has a good short push. The issue for Harimoto is that he is naturally weaker than most of this CNT counterparts from a physical standpoint given his age and muscle mass so this makes him unable to generate quality similar to theirs off the table. So when forced to rally, he usually performs significantly worse. Maybe he won't get that much stronger over the next year. Maybe his game won't evolve sufficiently to support rallying off the table. But given that he is 16 and he has time to work on his game, there is no reason he can't work on this over the next year. After all, his coach said after a recent loss to ML that Harimoto has to incorporate more of the patterns of ML into his game. What I don't get is why a 16 year old with good technique is suddenly possessed with "fatal flaws". There is no inherent reason why Harimoto can incorporate more of Lin Gaoyuan's approach to TT since they are both very similar in a variety of ways.

      The fact that you are looking for specific tactics is a bit silly, with all due respect. IF Ma Long is pushing long to Fan Zhendong, is that a specific tactic that Ma Long should be getting away with? Yet Ma Long does it often and has gotten away with it so far. Every player and matchup has its own rhythm. You cannot tell what a player will develop in response to his opponents. When Quadri improved his backhand play, it was largely his blocking and punching that became more consistent and far less about his backhand loop. Players just work on stuff and if it fits into their game and the tactics they deploy, great. And if they can't execute it, great.
      Wow... Thanks for telling me in such great detail something everybody already knows. Of course, Ito's style is specifically designed to be threatening close to the table. The same is true of Harimoto's style. This is like telling me water is wet.

      TT is a very technical sport. The tactics and skills involved at professional level is very intricate. You should stop acting as if you knew all the players' styles and tactics. My assessment on Ito and Harimoto has nothing to do with my "confidence" or any other feelings, it's all based purely on observation of their style and tactics employed by CNT players during their matches.

      So here is another free lesson for you on Harimoto and why he's losing. CNT's current tactic primarily revolves around limiting the quality and angle of Harimoto's opening attacks.

      Harimoto is very threatening close to and over the table. Most of his points are won with attacks close to the table. He much prefers his BH, his FH is relatively weak. His primary offensive weapons are BH and FH flicks, both are fast and devastating. However, Harimoto can only do quality FH flicks diagonally and most of Harimoto's BH flips are parallel shots. His touches and pushes are relatively weak. His parallel FH flip is also relatively weak. Using this knowledge to their advantage, CNT players send short services of varying spins to Harimoto's wide FH to force Harimoto into doing one of the following things: 1) diagonal FH flick, 2) use parallel BH flick on FH side, 3) soft touch, or 4) deep push. Harimoto's touch and push are not threatening, which is opportunity for attacks to win the point or force Harimoto away from the table, where he is much less threatening. If Harimoto uses BH flicks on FH side, it will force him to open up his BH corner. Opponent can attack Harimoto's BH corner to either win the point or get into BH rally, which is roughly 50/50 situation on who will win the point. If Harimoto uses FH flicks, they are only threatening on opponent's FH side. Opponent can just focus on blocking or counterloop on his FH side. In their last encounter, Ma Long won many points by counterlooping Harimoto's FH flicks. He could do that because he knew where the shot is going. When Harimoto tried parallel FH flicks, the shots were too weak and Ma Long just countered with powerful BH shots to win the point.
      And just like that, the most threatening part of Harimoto's game is neutralized, or at least restrained, depending on the opponent's skill level and execution of the tactics. The fact that Sun Wen beat Harimoto 4:0 while losing many BH rallies to Harimoto really shows how effective this strategy is.

      What I've just said above is a very rough breakdown. When CNT coaches breaks it down, they analyze every type of shot Harimoto makes and how often each type of shot is used throughout a match. And what is the best way to counter or prevent certain type of shots from Harimoto.

    14. Top | #229
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      Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect View Post
      Wow... Thanks for telling me in such great detail something everybody already knows. Of course, Ito's style is specifically designed to be threatening close to the table. The same is true of Harimoto's style. This is like telling me water is wet.

      TT is a very technical sport. The tactics and skills involved at professional level is very intricate. You should stop acting as if you knew all the players' styles and tactics. My assessment on Ito and Harimoto has nothing to do with my "confidence" or any other feelings, it's all based purely on observation of their style and tactics employed by CNT players during their matches.

      So here is another free lesson for you on Harimoto and why he's losing. CNT's current tactic primarily revolves around limiting the quality and angle of Harimoto's opening attacks.

      Harimoto is very threatening close to and over the table. Most of his points are won with attacks close to the table. He much prefers his BH, his FH is relatively weak. His primary offensive weapons are BH and FH flicks, both are fast and devastating. However, Harimoto can only do quality FH flicks diagonally and most of Harimoto's BH flips are parallel shots. His touches and pushes are relatively weak. His parallel FH flip is also relatively weak. Using this knowledge to their advantage, CNT players send short services of varying spins to Harimoto's wide FH to force Harimoto into doing one of the following things: 1) diagonal FH flick, 2) use parallel BH flick on FH side, 3) soft touch, or 4) deep push. Harimoto's touch and push are not threatening, which is opportunity for attacks to win the point or force Harimoto away from the table, where he is much less threatening. If Harimoto uses BH flicks on FH side, it will force him to open up his BH corner. Opponent can attack Harimoto's BH corner to either win the point or get into BH rally, which is roughly 50/50 situation on who will win the point. If Harimoto uses FH flicks, they are only threatening on opponent's FH side. Opponent can just focus on blocking or counterloop on his FH side. In their last encounter, Ma Long won many points by counterlooping Harimoto's FH flicks. He could do that because he knew where the shot is going. When Harimoto tried parallel FH flicks, the shots were too weak and Ma Long just countered with powerful BH shots to win the point.
      And just like that, the most threatening part of Harimoto's game is neutralized, or at least restrained, depending on the opponent's skill level and execution of the tactics. The fact that Sun Wen beat Harimoto 4:0 while losing many BH rallies to Harimoto really shows how effective this strategy is.

      What I've just said above is a very rough breakdown. When CNT coaches breaks it down, they analyze every type of shot Harimoto makes and how often each type of shot is used throughout a match. And what is the best way to counter or prevent certain type of shots from Harimoto.
      Do you have a similar analysis for Ma Long or Xu Xin or Fan Zhendong?

      If you did, maybe it would help you see why your approach to this issue is limited. In fact do it for ML FZD all 3 matches this year.

    15. Top | #230
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Do you have a similar analysis for Ma Long or Xu Xin or Fan Zhendong?

      If you did, maybe it would help you see why your approach to this issue is limited. In fact do it for ML FZD all 3 matches this year.
      I do. I naturally do this in my head for every tt match I watch. I sometimes watch the same match multiple times.
      However, I don't have time to explain all the nuances to you. You already got a free lesson out of me in the last post
      Instead of making baseless arguments with strangers, you should spend more time learning to appreciate the finer points of TT. Next time you watch a TT match, try to focus more on the spin, placement, and tempo, as well as long/short services. These are frequently the key elements seasoned players use to disrupt their opponents.

      I will say this though, matches between ML and FZD are especially fun. You really get to see how two technically complete players try to out play each other tactically. In each set, the losing one will adjust their game to surprise the other. And they can make these adjustments so quickly, because they can execute all types of shots well (in other words, they are fundamentally sound).
      In terms of technique, power, and speed, ML, FZD, TBoll, LGY, and XX are all nearly flawless, even though each of them has unique strengths over others.
      That's why their world rankings are so high and will likely stay high unless there's injury. It's generally difficult to beat them using one set of strategy, because they will quickly adjust and counter it. Their opponents must constantly improvise throughout the match.

    16. Top | #231
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      Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect View Post
      I do. I naturally do this in my head for every tt match I watch. I sometimes watch the same match multiple times.
      However, I don't have time to explain all the nuances to you. You already got a free lesson out of me in the last post
      Instead of making baseless arguments with strangers, you should spend more time learning to appreciate the finer points of TT. Next time you watch a TT match, try to focus more on the spin, placement, and tempo, as well as long/short services. These are frequently the key elements seasoned players use to disrupt their opponents.

      I will say this though, matches between ML and FZD are especially fun. You really get to see how two technically complete players try to out play each other tactically. In each set, the losing one will adjust their game to surprise the other. And they can make these adjustments so quickly, because they can execute all types of shots well (in other words, they are fundamentally sound).
      In terms of technique, power, and speed, ML, FZD, TBoll, LGY, and XX are all nearly flawless, even though each of them has unique strengths over others.
      That's why their world rankings are so high and will likely stay high unless there's injury. It's generally difficult to beat them using one set of strategy, because they will quickly adjust and counter it. Their opponents must constantly improvise throughout the match.

      Thanks but there was a specific reason I asked the question. We see TT differently. Sun Wen won quite a lot of points from service winners and serve return winners. Is that in your analysis as well? And are those also weaknesses of Harimoto? Isn't it easier to conclude that in many ways, Harimoto got ambushed by someone he didn't know how to play and would likely win a rematch? Of course if Harimoto loses to CNT players all the time for the next 6 months, I may rethink that.

      It is easy to pretend that tactics are special. But players work on their game all the time. Pretending you know what Harimoto and Ito can or can not improve is interesting.

      The funny thing is that I might even know who you are or someone who knows you. TT in Atlanta is not that big so just about everyone knows everyone.
      Last edited by NextLevel; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:03 PM.

    17. Top | #232
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Thanks but there was a specific reason I asked the question. We see TT differently. Sun Wen won quite a lot of points from service winners and serve return winners. Is that in your analysis as well? And are those also weaknesses of Harimoto? Isn't it easier to conclude that in many ways, Harimoto got ambushed by someone he didn't know how to play and would likely win a rematch? Of course if Harimoto loses to CNT players all the time for the next 6 months, I may rethink that.

      It is easy to pretend that tactics are special. But players work on their game all the time. Pretending you know what Harimoto and Ito can or can not improve is interesting.

      The funny thing is that I might even know who you are or someone who knows you. TT in Atlanta is not that big so just about everyone knows everyone.
      Yeah, most of Sun Wen's points are from service and third ball attacks. Anyone can see that.
      The fact that anyone could just show up and "ambush" Harimoto by employing a relatively simple tactic is proof that the kid has critical flaws in his play style. You don't see this happen often with Timo or FZD now, do you?

      I don't pretend to know anything. I've told you exactly what I know about Harimoto. And these are just some basic things that most TT fans probably know. I'm just surprised you act as if this is secret knowledge or something.

      Sorry, I don't know any Nigerians personally, I hear it's a lovely country though.

    18. Top | #233
      driversbeat is online now
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      Service and third ball isn't a singular technique. It's an umbrella term that covers a broad range of attack patterns. I'm sure the one that Sun Wen employed was specifically designed to target Harimoto. Nothing basic at all. Like Liu Guoliang said, finish the point before the rally, and whatever weapons your opponent has beyond the third ball become irrelevant.

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      https://youtu.be/QoCUNNeDlnc

      ZYL talking about Ito after China Op.

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    22. Top | #235
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      How about some gossip?

      https://wjn.jp/article/detail/5925664/
       「伊藤、平野、早田ひならも苦戦を強いられています。でも、完全に封じ込められているのは石川だけ。石川は国内トップなので、このままいけば自動的に東京五輪代表となりますが、日本がメダルを獲得するには中国に勝たなければなりません。中国に勝てない選手となると、卓球連盟も考えなければなりません」(前出の協会詰め記者)
      "Ito, Hirano and Hayata are also struggling, but only Ishikawa is completely shut down. Ishikawa is the top domestic player, and so she'll automatically become the representative for Tokyo Olympics at this rate, but you'll have to defeat China for Japan to win the medal. When it comes to players who can't defeat China, the Table Tennis Federation has to think about it." (reporter accredited to the association)

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    24. Top | #236
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      Poor Hina Hayata ...
      Korea Open, WS, Preliminary ...
      R-128-bye
      R-64 - SHI Xunyao (China)
      R-32 (?) - CHEN Ke (China)

      Inevitably you will cease to believe in casual sowing ....

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      a little surprising that they still refer to Ishikawa as Japan's top player. Maybe in terms of ranking but she doesnt have much else going for her.

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    27. Top | #238
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      Perhaps purely formally ....So far, in the current ITTF ranking,she is higher than the other Japanese women ... Bye ....
      As for the national rating, I do not know ....Perhaps, too, while she is the first ....

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      no point throwing ishikawa in because she can't beat anyone that has a remotely chinese name. throw in hirano ito and hayata done ez

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      It is logical, but .....

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