Road to Tokyo 2020: Chinese TT Team

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So is Ding Ning officially retired ?

I wouldn't say officially retired but probably has gone down the order of preference one could argue.

You would think CM, SYS, WMY have overtaken her from recent performances. Big thing DN has is she is a crowd favourite. Chinese Supporters love her and want to see her play so can see her on the tour for many years to come and coaching when she is retired. Her best is she can beat anyone and worst is she still competitive but against Mima other 3 mentioned probably the safer options.

Wouldnt be surprised if DN is used a the 4th member if games go ahead. Bit of veteran precense that can enthuse the squad and the audience. To me hard seeing both LSW and DN in the same squad, the coaches might already see LSW best chemistry in XD with XX and LWS could be great fit for doubles and singles in the team event so DN might not be directly needed at this point. Just my opinion.
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In case anyone is interested, some updates on the ongoing WTT & WTTC Trials.

Stage 2: Knockout Round

Women's Singles

Chen Meng – Liu Fei (chopper)
Zhu Yuling – Liu Shiwen (nemesis)

Wang Manyu – Wang Yidi (same coach)
Sun Yingsha – Chen Xingtong (nemesis)

Men's Singles

Fan Zhendong – Lin Shidong
Xu Chenhao – Wang Chuqin

Liang Jingkun – Zhou Qihao
Fang Bo – Ma Long

Mixed Doubles

QF1: XX/LSW vs Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong
QF2: LGY/Zhang Rui vs WCQ/WMY
QF3: Ma Te/Liu Fei vs Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi
QF4: Zhu Linfeng/ZYL vs LJK/SYS
 
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In case anyone is interested, some updates on the ongoing WTT & WTTC Trials.

Stage 2: Knockout Round

Women's Singles

Chen Meng – Liu Fei (chopper)
Zhu Yuling – Liu Shiwen (nemesis)

Wang Manyu – Wang Yidi (same coach)
Sun Yingsha – Chen Xingtong (nemesis)

Men's Singles

Fan Zhendong – Lin Shidong
Xu Chenhao – Wang Chuqin

Liang Jingkun – Zhou Qihao
Fang Bo – Ma Long

Mixed Doubles

QF1: XX/LSW vs Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong
QF2: LGY/Zhang Rui vs WCQ/WMY
QF3: Ma Te/Liu Fei vs Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi
QF4: Zhu Linfeng/ZYL vs LJK/SYS

Of course we are interested 😁

 
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Just watched the XD QF, some of the best play I've seen so far at this event. XX & LSW raised their game, but not quite up to the level of Zhou Yu & Chen Xingtong, who were brilliant individually and as a partnership. Zhou Yu is doing all he can to get noticed, having earlier held two match points (IIRC) against Ma Long, who was in danger of being completely overwhelmed.
 
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The stereotypical way Ma Long plays lefties with strong backhand is gonna kill him, he seriously needs to update his tactics against them, that's how he lost those 2 times VS Lin Yun Ju, buy him a brain like FZD has. Thou shall not loopkill FH in diagonal ! when he played in the middle, on Zhou Yu's body/elbow, he won more points.
 
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At last we saw WCQ coming back with some fluency, a good job, as I think XX and ML (in spite of all his admirers) are past their best. Maybe LSD (on a high!) could also develop into a rival for FZD. Similarly in the ladies, with DN absent and LSW struggling to recapture her effervescence, hopes will lie upon CM and SYS. It’s good to see ZYL making her way back to the top after her mystery illness and she may yet be able to challenge for a place in the team. At her best I think she would be able to give CM and SYS a run for their money. (More to follow after semis have been completed).
 
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Now watched two SFs, both great matches. There was some athletic brilliance from CM with plenty of speed and power in the legs; in fact she needed all that to get the better of ZYL in what was a very close and compelling match. CM is an exciting player, but IMHO she still comes up on a few BHs or doesn’t get across to get behind the line of the ball – can someone convey this to Ma Lin??

In the XD I would not be too critical of LJK, as actually all four players excelled in a spectacular encounter. Credit above all to MT and LF, whose teamwork was fantastic. LJK blew a few points at the very end, but over the whole seven games it was SYS who more often failed to cope with the choppers. MT ought to give lessons for defenders on how to use variation and pick off winners!
 
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Music&Ping;344907 said:
The stereotypical way Ma Long plays lefties with strong backhand is gonna kill him, he seriously needs to update his tactics against them, that's how he lost those 2 times VS Lin Yun Ju, buy him a brain like FZD has. Thou shall not loopkill FH in diagonal ! when he played in the middle, on Zhou Yu's body/elbow, he won more points.

You're too hard on him :) Here, he outplayed WCQ:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOPIkB_HKo0
 
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In the XD event, played over a full seven games throughout, we have been treated to some brilliant, exciting matches. In the second SF all four players eventually reached a peak. LGY played with judgement and maturity, bringing the best out of his diminutive partner, ZR. ZY had a shaky spell, but just prevailed in the end, having a stronger partner in CZT. For all the excitement and splendid rallies, the winners will still have a big job on their hands against the choppers in the final. Generally what strikes me about some of the younger Chinese players (and also Taiwan’s Lin Yun Ju) is that they want to attack everything all over the table on the BH, a rather all-or-nothing approach, shelling out loads of points in this way. This sometimes means that matches between the top Europeans are better to watch, with longer rallies. It also means that traditional ideas about doubles play, e.g. left-hander with right-hander both aiming to stand wide to hit their FHs down the middle, go by the board. You find the left-hander, e.g. LGY, either receiving or during the rally, in perfect position to dominate with his FH, but instead coming across to play a BH, which also potentially takes space away from his partner! In spite of this observation, I thought he was the best player not only in this match but also in the quarter-final earlier, defeating WCQ/WMY. All in all it's wonderful to see the XD event given such prominence.
 
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Very bad temperament I witnessed today from Ma Long in the Semi Final. It looked like he was not admitting that the opponent is capable of beating him. Thanks to the brilliant play from Zhou Qihao and many unforced errors from Ma Long. Ma Long rarely looked composed and looked quite frustrated with the returns, as if he was not expecting those at all.
 
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Semi-finals now completed. Wang Yidi put up a great fight against Sun Yingsha, who sometimes seems quite fragile and lightweight but is a fierce competitor with dynamic reactions. She’ll need all of that and more to prevail over Chen Meng in the final!

I thought that the match between Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin (4-2) was the climax of these championships so far, with FZD up to 100% activation right from the start, clearly aware of the threat that WCQ poses with his lightning speed. Great to see WCQ putting on such a superb show, not enough to win, but providing a match of the highest quality. I suspect that FZD, playing with this intensity, would beat allcomers. Worldwide perhaps only Harimoto and Ovtcharov are in his league. I can’t think of anyone else at present!

Ma Long didn’t make it, beaten by Zhou Qihao and looking dismayed at times. The writing was on the wall some time before, when Zhou Yu had four match points against him in the groups. ML has all the skill but not the speed he once had. China will have to rely mainly on Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin, with several younger stars coming through as well.
 
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That's a classic with the CNT players: once you're 30+, game over. They play too much hard, it's physically demanding, too much talented youngsters that want to break the hierachy... Xu Xin career is almost over like Zhang Jike's, Ma Long is to follow with his left knee issues obviously, he looked really tired and I guess he had an injury preventing him from sleeping.

We're likely to see an FZD reign for the next 5 or 6 years, he'll win almost everything, and again some will compare him to ML, Waldner, and who's the GOAT blah blah blah... I guess he'll even win the OG right now this year and the following WTTC, because he's the only one being consistent enough today. That's why he's ranked n°1.

That's why no chinese can be named GOAT: their career span is way too short, who can still believe ML will win a WTTC in 2023 ? Waldner did it 8 years after his first one
 
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Music&Ping;345033 said:
That's a classic with the CNT players: once you're 30+, game over. They play too much hard, it's physically demanding, too much talented youngsters that want to break the hierachy... Xu Xin career is almost over like Zhang Jike's, Ma Long is to follow with his left knee issues obviously, he looked really tired and I guess he had an injury preventing him from sleeping.

We're likely to see an FZD reign for the next 5 or 6 years, he'll win almost everything, and again some will compare him to ML, Waldner, and who's the GOAT blah blah blah... I guess he'll even win the OG right now this year and the following WTTC, because he's the only one being consistent enough today. That's why he's ranked n°1.

That's why no chinese can be named GOAT: their career span is way too short, who can still believe ML will win a WTTC in 2023 ? Waldner did it 8 years after his first one

No pressure by LJY or Harimoto over the next few years to FZD?

 
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Music&Ping;345033 said:
That's a classic with the CNT players: once you're 30+, game over. They play too much hard, it's physically demanding, too much talented youngsters that want to break the hierachy... Xu Xin career is almost over like Zhang Jike's, Ma Long is to follow with his left knee issues obviously, he looked really tired and I guess he had an injury preventing him from sleeping

He didn't look in his skin, that's for sure. Didn't look injured to me though. Zhou Qihao played great, strong BH, strong FH counter. But still ML lead 8:4 in G7, lost 11:8. Anyway, I'd not write him off just yet. He may think this is one of the last chances for him to win something significant, and he may somewhere deeper think now is not the most important time to win. He's feeling wrong, he knows FZD, his likely opponent in the real match later, awaits. These things can influence even a player like ML. When he is one with his inner dragon, no one can beat him :)

We're likely to see an FZD reign for the next 5 or 6 years, he'll win almost everything, and again some will compare him to ML, Waldner, and who's the GOAT blah blah blah... I guess he'll even win the OG right now this year and the following WTTC, because he's the only one being consistent enough today. That's why he's ranked n°1.

I admire FZD's mind.
 
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Finals now over and what a pleasure it has been to watch these brilliant players stretched to the limit! The main talking point has to be 23 year-old Zhou Qihao, who has sprung a few surprises in the past (he beat Ovtcharov in 2018) but for many has come from “nowhere” (currently world no 122) to reach the top of the tree in most spectacular style. He has some resemblance to Zhang Jike in physique and in his electric athleticism at mid-distance. Ma Long is still battling to hang on to his spot. Presumably he will stay in the team along with Fan Zhendong. Will the Chinese have the courage to promote Zhou Qihao ahead of Wang Chuqin? You just can’t ignore a player showing such star quality in an important event.

In the ladies there was little to choose between Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha. Whatever gap there was before, SYS has almost closed it. Who will get 3rd place in the Chinese team? Wang Yidi and Zhu Yuling made a claim, but I would give it to Wang Manyu, in view of her record over the past year. There’s very little separating these three. I can’t see Ding Ning or Liu Shiwen being fit enough to challenge.

What about the XD? Will China be very brave and select the defenders, Ma Te and Liu Fei? I suppose they’ll have to stick with Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen. How about giving it to whoever gets omitted from the singles and team events, say Wang Chuqin and Wang Yidi, a left/right combination?

These are the dilemmas faced by the Chinese selectors, as I see it. They may well see it differently in their wisdom, but they have to accept that one or two of their chosen elite have been overtaken in these trials.
 
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