What do you mean it takes away from XX? Like, it takes away from his showmanship style?

He definitely is a different beast and his RPB is really starting to come together. It’s really fun to watch him!

I meant take away as in to attribute the result of the match being that "FZD looked like a different animal than the Ma Long match".

IMO it was more of a factor of XX upping his game than FZD doing anything particularly wrong. FZD did look to me, surprised quite a few times at the ball coming back with alot more quality than perhaps he expected.

They would know each other's games inside out, and I can't imagine you can just hide that sort of improvement from a fellow CNT member, since you would be focused on practising the parts of the game you want to improve and the other CNT members, I would assume, would be able to see this.

But it definitely looked to me like FZD was actually visibly stunned at how some of the rallies went that match.
 
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Xu Xin's problem is that his preferred style of play is big swings from behind the table. This also happens to be, comparatively, where top European players are also strong. (i vaguely remember some coach or another complaining about this as a part of Xu Xin's play being outdated)

The entire CNT has a very strong "first three balls"(serve receive and first attack) sort of play, due to the team's emphasis on fundamentals. This is often used to smother less fundamentally sound players and makes CNT members difficult to beat, even without specific research on players.

While is is perfectly capable, indeed one of the best, at this, Xu Xin doesn't always use this to his full advantage (maybe as a part of showmanship?), and with his inherent weakness on the backhand side from being a penholder he can be vulnerable to upsets.

He has, however, cleaned up his RPB a lot of late. I think it takes away a bit from XX to not mention that he looked like a different animal out there too. It looked like FZD was constantly surprised at one more shot coming back with quality than he expected on quite alot of rallies, especially from XX RPB.

I always had the impression that XX is not really playing to win, like FZD. It seems to me that he really likes the show, to play great points, to try things. His amazing skills and points are the reason why he is my favorite player to watch.

I think he has the ability to just play a straight forward game, focusing on the win, and get better results. But that is not the way he wants to win.

I don’t know if it makes sense, but that is how I feel watching him.
 
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I meant take away as in to attribute the result of the match being that "FZD looked like a different animal than the Ma Long match".

IMO it was more of a factor of XX upping his game than FZD doing anything particularly wrong. FZD did look to me, surprised quite a few times at the ball coming back with alot more quality than perhaps he expected.

They would know each other's games inside out, and I can't imagine you can just hide that sort of improvement from a fellow CNT member, since you would be focused on practising the parts of the game you want to improve and the other CNT members, I would assume, would be able to see this.

But it definitely looked to me like FZD was actually visibly stunned at how some of the rallies went that match.

Oh it is 100% obvious that Xu Xin played in a much more balanced fashion and has been trying to do so for a while without getting the kind of results he deserves because he is still in transition. The FZD match was his best backhand match to date. People who want to down play it forget how uncompetitive Xu Xin has been vs FZD in recent times.

https://youtu.be/WhBCW2fGRDQ
 
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Hysteresis isn't wrong about XX's game being outdated. But he's been continuously fixing it.

XX's first three ball attacks are ok, at least according to statistics. His over the table touch and attacks are deceptive enough to cause most opponents trouble. Away from the table, XX's full swing stroke and quick footwork is enough to win on most occasions too.

XX's main problem is his passive mid-distance game. If XX's touch game cannot contain his opponent's close to table attacks, then he had no effective ways to counter attack at mid-distance, where he doesn't have time for full swings and can't keep the return short to disrupt opponent's follow up attacks.

With XX's much improved BH and shorter FH strokes (almost like a slap with his racket close to his body), he is able to counter attack at mid-distance to either win the point or extend the rally until he's away from the table, where his full swings can finish the point.

It's not perfect yet (hence the inconsistencies), but it's enough to surprise FZD, which is something I guess.
 
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