Road to Tokyo 2020: Chinese TT Team

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Report Card for WTT & WTTC Trials

Men's Singles Ranking

1st – Zhou Qihao
2nd – Fan Zhendong
3rd – Ma Long
4th – Wang Chuqin
5th – Lin Shidong, Xu Chenhao, Liang Jingkun, Fang Bo

Women's Singles Ranking

1st – Chen Meng
2nd – Sun Yingsha
3rd – Wang Yidi
4th – Zhu Yuling
5th – Liu Fei, Liu Shiwen, Wang Manyu, Chen Xingtong

Personally, I think the point of an open trials was not achieved for the women's side as the top Chinese women continued to dominate (except HZJ who fell to LF). Trials are very good opportunities for the younger and/or less regarded players to prove themselves and catch the coaches' eye (e.g. SYS placed second in 2019 and skyrocketed from there, although of course she peaked once before that), especially since hierarchy and extant achievements are very much the cornerstones of the Chinese selection criteria. Of course the other way to look at it is that the succession cycle is a lot more comprehensive for the ladies compared to the gentlemen.

XD Ranking

1st – Ma Te/Liu Fei
2nd – Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong
3rd – Liang Jingkun/Sun Yingsha
4th – Lin Gaoyuan/Zhang Rui
5th – Xu Xin/Liu Shiwen, Wang Chuqin/Wang Manyu, Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi, Zhu Linfeng/Zhu Yuling
9th – Remaining pairs

007uCPrEly1gqa9osrpuxj30m2acrqu5.jpg


Just to reiterate that the results of this trials will not affect the Olympics line-up according to the CNT. The line-up should be announced in a few days' time. For those who are still wondering if the XD pair will be replaced, LGL has come out to say no.
Key points
- Good for core players to experience losses and expose their shortcomings at this point in time rather than later on in the Olympics
- On XX/LSW, they actually displayed impeccable form during the time leading to this trials. For many matches held behind closed doors, male doubles pairs struggled to win them. Against other XD pairs, XX/LSW could win comfortably even after conceding two/three points. Their loss this time round is basically rooted in their complacency, which led to inadequate preparation and underestimating their opponents. While losses are always undesirable, this came at a very timely moment.
- What the public gets to see or are allowed to see is just a fraction of what goes into the coaches' consideration –> he did not say this this way but I think that was one of the messages being conveyed
 
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There's more to the interview. LGL says he wants to open the doors to foreign players after the Olympics and wonders how Ito and Harimoto would do. He also explains why the CTTA announces the players so late and the problems with JTTA announcing so far ahead of time.

Just LGL's part
https://tv.cctv.com/2021/05/07/VIDEPIuoTqaL5opXGaKvH5J4210507.shtml
[email protected]:47, [email protected]:19, [email protected]:44, [email protected]:49
https://tv.cctv.com/2021/05/07/VIDEVMwZ2jgoNdVrZGxhsj4P210507.shtml
 
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There's more to the interview. LGL says he wants to open the doors to foreign players after the Olympics and wonders how Ito and Harimoto would do. He also explains why the CTTA announces the players so late and the problems with JTTA announcing so far ahead of time.

Just LGL's part
https://tv.cctv.com/2021/05/07/VIDEPIuoTqaL5opXGaKvH5J4210507.shtml
[email protected]:47, [email protected]:19, [email protected]:44, [email protected]:49
https://tv.cctv.com/2021/05/07/VIDEVMwZ2jgoNdVrZGxhsj4P210507.shtml

Thanks for alerting to the full CCTV interview.

Aside from the aforementioned by zeio, other key points of relevance to note:

- There are considerable risks that comes with holding only one trial to determine player selection for major events. For example, some teammate killers (內戰王) may end up knocking out the very best players the team has to offer. *coughs* I wonder who is he referring to
- The more scientific approach is to adopt a holistic framework, which LGL stressed they have done all along although such details are not always made public.
- For one, more trials will be hosted (rumours has it end of this month) to better ascertain a player's stability (e.g. one needs to perform well consistently, say at three/four out of five tournaments, to be truly worthy of bearing the title of a core player)
- Coaches, notably the head coaches, have already decided upon the Olympics line-up based on each player's performance over the past five years
 
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ZQH has been known as 神经刀 meaning he can beat anybody if he’s on but he can also lose to anybody if he’s off. When he’ll be on and when he’ll be off is not all that predictable. I believe he has beaten ML for the last three internal team encounters. He tends to hit balls off the bounce earlier than most, specially when returning service, and that quickness makes him tough to beat. When playing against unfamiliar players though, his quickness advantage disappears as he no longer can rely on anticipation.

He and FZD are childhood friends. Theie dads brought them to play at the same club (大世界 big world)in Guangzhou when they were 6,7,8,9 years old. I have a feeling that FZD might not be 100% committed to this final as there’s little incentive for FZD if he wins but it’ll make a world of difference for ZQH if ZQH wins.

It’s more and more likely that CM and SYS will play singles, LSW mixed double, and WMY the fourth player now that DN is out. As for men’s team, my opening post in this thread still stands.
 
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Second Trials to be held in Nanyang, Henan announced. 26th May to 30th May. Could potentially have more categories than just MS, WS and XD. List of participating core players remain unchanged (ML, LSW, XX, CM, FZD, SYS...).
 
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Stats for the period of Tokyo 2020+1

https://tieba.baidu.com/p/7343934271
Red = 1st
Orange = 2nd
Blue = last
From left to right: DN, LSW, CM, ZYL, WMY, SYS
From top to bottom:
Name,
Total matches,
Total wins,
Total winning percentage,
"Intrastate war" matches,
Ratio,
Winning percentage,
"Interstate war" matches,
Ratio,
Winning percentage,
Total title wins,
Winning percentage,
3 majors winning ratio,
3 majors final ratio,
Continental winning ratio,
Continental final ratio,
Grand finals winning ratio,
Grand finals final ratio,
Open titles
http://tiebapic.baidu.com/forum/w=5.../f151f8198618367a160fa06d39738bd4b21ce5f9.jpg
 
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Stats for the period of Tokyo 2020+1

https://tieba.baidu.com/p/7343934271
Red = 1st
Orange = 2nd
Blue = last
From left to right: DN, LSW, CM, ZYL, WMY, SYS
From top to bottom:
Name,
Total matches,
Total wins,
Total winning percentage,
"Intrastate war" matches,
Ratio,
Winning percentage,
"Interstate war" matches,
Ratio,
Winning percentage,
Total title wins,
Winning percentage,
3 majors winning ratio,
3 majors final ratio,
Continental winning ratio,
Continental final ratio,
Grand finals winning ratio,
Grand finals final ratio,
Open titles
http://tiebapic.baidu.com/forum/w=5.../f151f8198618367a160fa06d39738bd4b21ce5f9.jpg

Select Translations

Total number of wins – 1) Chen Meng, 2) Wang Manyu... 6) Ding Ning
Total winning ratio – 1) Chen Meng, 2) Sun Yingsha... 6) Zhu Yuling
Highest winning ratio against teammates (%) – 1) Chen Meng, 2) Wang Manyu... 6) Liu Shiwen
Highest winning ratio against outsiders (%) – 1) Liu Shiwen, 2) Chen Meng... 6) Ding Ning
Highest winning ratio for WC & WTTC (%) – 1) Ding Ning; 2) Liu Shiwen... 6) Sun Yingsha
Highest winning ratio for Continental Events (%)– 1) Sun Yingsha, 2) Zhu Yuling... 6) Chen Meng
Highest winning ratio for WT Finals (%) – 1) Chen Meng, 2) Zhu Yuling... 6) Wang Manyu
Most number of Open titles – 1) Chen Meng, 2) Wang Manyu... 6) Zhu Yuling

Let's see how the above statistics translate over to the selection criteria set out.

1. Core players who have obtained stellar results in major tournaments, maintained good winning records against foreign players and have demonstrated outstanding mental resilience/endurance ((一)以有利于完成东京奥运会参赛任务、有利于乒乓球项目可持续发展为目的,从主力运动员中选拔大赛成绩突出、对外战绩优异、心理素质和抗压能力强的运动员参加东京奥运会。)

LIU Shiwen leads with stellar results in major tournaments (just behind DN) and has maintained good winning records against foreign players (above statistics). Not sure how mental resilience/endurance is measured, so... maybe give either SUN Yingsha or WANG Manyu lol.

2. The world ranking will be referenced but not taken as the sole determining factor, as the pool of candidates will still depend on the core players' domestic and international performances in the past two years. ((二)参照世界排名且不唯世界排名的原则,结合近两年内运动员参加一系列国际国内大赛成绩,确定参加奥运会的主力运动员范围。)

CHEN Meng has the highest winning record domestically and against outsiders.

Conclusion: wait for 15 May.

 
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JAPANESE NOISY ATTACKS TO SMITE THE CHINESE TEAM DOWN.

Only 2 months prior to the 2021 Olympics, Chinese table tennis team plunged into difficulties. No China supporters allowed to be present in the playing venue, wereas 8 000 noisy Japanese goons will be there, roaring in loud voice.
No way could China withstand this noisy attack from the Japanese Hot Throats roaring as hell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7Gpm1Zt_48
 
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Rumour has it that CNT will indeed announce their line-up tomorrow. The source, who goes by the name Ke Ruizi (not sure who is he though but he has appeared in a couple of domestic matches so maybe he has credibility), pointed out three matters. First, he outrightly named Wang Chuqin and Wang Manyu as the reserve players.

330e0cf3d7ca7bcbb1bfc29ea9096b63f724a8bf.jpg


Second, he remarked that debates will mainly surround Liu Shiwen and Sun Yingsha's selection (presumably wrt to Singles which means Chen Meng's spot is confirmed?).

Third, he claimed that separation by association will continue to be put in place for Tokyo 2020.

89fcc3cec3fdfc03d105e409c33f8794a4c22605%20%281%29.jpg


CTTA has also published a ratified version of the Olympics selection criteria today (http://www.ctta.cn/xhgg/qttz/2021/0514/381766.html), not many changes from the draft version made public last week except placing greater emphasis on world ranking it seems (以男、女奥运单打资格排名为基本依据).

*Edit: The source has now come out to say it won't be tomorrow but in a few days' time instead. The ITTF website should have updated by then so, LOL
 
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Rumour has it that CNT will indeed announce their line-up tomorrow. The source, who goes by the name Ke Ruizi (not sure who is he though but he has appeared in a couple of domestic matches so maybe he has credibility), pointed out three matters. First, he outrightly named Wang Chuqin and Wang Manyu as the reserve players.

330e0cf3d7ca7bcbb1bfc29ea9096b63f724a8bf.jpg


Second, he remarked that debates will mainly surround Liu Shiwen and Sun Yingsha's selection (presumably wrt to Singles which means Chen Meng's spot is confirmed?).

Third, he claimed that separation by association will continue to be put in place for Tokyo 2020.

89fcc3cec3fdfc03d105e409c33f8794a4c22605%20%281%29.jpg


CTTA has also published a ratified version of the Olympics selection criteria today (http://www.ctta.cn/xhgg/qttz/2021/0514/381766.html), not many changes from the draft version made public last week except placing greater emphasis on world ranking it seems (以男、女奥运单打资格排名为基本依据).

*Edit: The source has now come out to say it won't be tomorrow but in a few days' time instead. The ITTF website should have updated by then so, LOL

Separation by association is massive news.
Adds pressure on players to prove themselves to coaches and creates a gauntlet for Mima in singles for the Gold rather than potentially have 2 Chinese players on 1 half of the draw

 
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Either someone in ITTF/WTT gonna get fired for premature leak or the list has changed. This article has been deleted.

77d12f2eb9389b50bf86e8e39235e5dde7116e02.jpg


Poor LSW. Might as well have retired. Three learning points for the next batch of women vying for Paris 2024: 1) World Championships Singles title doesn't mean much anymore so just settle for quarter-finalist (if you manage to defeat a key opponent) or Silver; 2) Peak only a year or two MAXIMUM before the Olympics; 3) Make sure you suck or appear only mediocre at Doubles lest you get nominated to play XD
 
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Either someone in ITTF/WTT gonna get fired for premature leak or the list has changed. This article has been deleted.

77d12f2eb9389b50bf86e8e39235e5dde7116e02.jpg


Poor LSW. Might as well have retired. Three learning points for the next batch of women vying for Paris 2024: 1) World Championships Singles title doesn't mean much anymore so just settle for quarter-finalist (if you manage to defeat a key opponent) or Silver; 2) Peak only a year or two MAXIMUM before the Olympics; 3) Make sure you suck or appear only mediocre at Doubles lest you get nominated to play XD

I thought Mima #2 would work in favour for LSW. Not sure if these rankings will hold or whether separation of accociation will apply to these games

If the separation is applicable for the women's singles we can start looking ahead to the draw now, other draws we can't, we would know.
We can predict using teams from CHN JPN TPE SGP

First half of the draw will be'
Chen Meng-1 China
Cheng I-Ching-4 Chinese Taipei
Kasumi Ishikawa-6 Japan
Yu Mengyu Singapore unseeded

Second half'
Mima Ito-2 Japan
Sun Yingsha-3 China
Feng Tianwei-5 Singapore
Chen Szu-yu-12 Chinese Taipei

Thats what I would expect to see

 
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It’s more and more likely that CM and SYS will play singles, LSW mixed double, and WMY the fourth player now that DN is out. As for men’s team, my opening post in this thread still stands.

So May 15 is the deadline. Team rosters have to be submitted. They are taken off the wtt website because the bureaucrat has not officially announced it yet in China. The rosters are not going to change.

 
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So May 15 is the deadline. Team rosters have to be submitted. They are taken off the wtt website because the bureaucrat has not officially announced it yet in China. The rosters are not going to change.

Screen%20Shot%202021-05-16%20at%2011-39-15%20am.png

CTTA has ratified the line-up that was revealed prematurely by WTT.

Mixed Doubles: XU Xin/LIU Shiwen
Women's Singles: CHEN Meng, SUN Yingsha
Men's Singles: MA Long, FAN Zhendong
Women's Team: CHEN Meng, SUN Yingsha, LIU Shiwen / WANG Manyu (Reserve)
Men's Team: MA Long, FAN Zhendong, XU Xin / WANG Chuqin (Reserve)

P.S. Another reason the WTT post was taken down was probably because the author/site manager is a LSW fan like me and ended up placing LSW's picture in the centre spot, when CM should have been next to ML 🤣

WhatsApp%20Image%202021-05-15%20at%2015-38-33.jpeg

TEAM-CHINA-16x9-group.png
 
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The right decision, but my heart breaks for Liu Shiwen.
Mima Ito was probably the tipping factor, considering that players like Wang Nan, Li Xiaoxia, Wang Hao and Zhang Jike got the nod for singles despite being in poor form prior to the Olympics.

Poor Liu Shiwen, got screwed by Shi Zhihao for 2012, Ding Ning for 2016, and Covid for 2021.
 
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The right decision, but my heart breaks for Liu Shiwen.
Mima Ito was probably the tipping factor, considering that players like Wang Nan, Li Xiaoxia, and Wang Hao got the nod for singles despite being in poor form prior to the Olympics.

Poor Liu Shiwen, got screwed by Shi Zhihao for 2012, Ding Ning for 2016, and Covid for 2021.

It's really quite sad, but I would also add one more factor. Mixed Doubles saved her from the brink of being ousted from Tokyo (with massive help from Ito knocking out ZYL and DN), but it also became the very hangman noose that sealed her Singles fate. Even without injury, playing three events has long been frowned upon (LGL mentioned this some time ago as a means of risk diversification), a feat made even more difficult by her age. Even though she will not get to participate in the event that most (if not all) athletes consider to be the highest form of individual glory, LSW still arguably has to shoulder the greatest responsibility this time – i) zero margin for error for XD and; ii) taking the lead for doubles (first match that sets the 'tone') for team event. Her biggest tactical failure is not dropping XD after winning WTTC2019, assuming she could :( Her existing injuries were probably made worse by the massive amount of training she had to go through to prep for XD and WS (based on videos/interviews published after WTTC2019).

 
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Maybe Liu Shiwen can immigrate to Japan and kick senpai out of the Japanese lineup. She has 68 days.

Imagine an Ito/Hayata/Liu lineup taking on Chen/Sun/Wang

One can only dream

LOL Hayata/Liu vs Chen/Wang, quite sure the former will win. Ito vs Sun (40-60), Liu vs Chen (40-60 to 50-50), Ito vs Chen (30-70), Hayata vs Sun (50-50).

Also, I found this video really interesting: (http://t.cn/A6VymiAO?m=4637440721552372&u=5703735355), specifically how they had to justify their choices for the WS candidates specifically (which was the main focus) through the mouths of others. Essentially, there was no discussion (maybe edited out) and also hard to believe that no contrasting opinions were raised. Seems like a fully PR stunt done for formality sake as the higher-ups (presumably extends beyond CTTA as Shandong announced CM's participation one/two months ago?) have clearly decided. Of course CM and SYS are both talented and capable in their own rights, but I just don't think the video achieved the effect that it was supposed to (raises more queries IMO). Also note that WN, ZYN and LXX were all Li Sun's disciples, while Deng Yaping was absent.

“陈梦近两年内获得9个国际比赛冠军 (but only 1 is a major tournament?)、三个国内比赛冠军,在世界杯和全国锦标赛首次获得冠军,并对主要对手伊藤美诚保持全胜,现世界排名和奥运排名均是第一位。孙颖莎,国际公开赛5个冠军,亚洲锦标赛女单冠军,国内2019全国锦标赛冠军,奥运模拟赛冠军,2019团体世界杯出任第一单打并战胜伊藤,对伊藤取得了5胜1负的战绩。刘诗雯,2019世界锦标赛单打混双冠军(what happened to her other achievements if everyone can name so many; deliberate downplaying?)。2019年后出现伤病,在各级领导的关心下,通过自己坚定的信念和努力,目前已恢复到可以参加奥运会的状态。但就目前实际情况看,也经与她本人的沟通,主要精力应该放在混双。”

Yes, Ito was basically why CM and SYS was selected – WMY must be fuming right now!! LSW was asked to give up WS for XD. At the end of the video, LGL concluded that Tokyo 2020/2021 is an extraordinary one so previous benchmark/criteria should not apply. He even specifically said that they should not fall into the fallacy of prioritising experience (经验主义) above others, but funnily Li Xiaodong cited experience in major tournaments as the key reason for the XD choice and Yin Xiao even ended the video by talking about how the three veterans (ML, LSW, XX) will play important roles in keeping the team together.
 
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LOL Hayata/Liu vs Chen/Wang, quite sure the former will win. Ito vs Sun (40-60), Liu vs Chen (40-60 to 50-50), Ito vs Chen (30-70), Hayata vs Sun (50-50).

Also, I found this video really interesting: (http://t.cn/A6VymiAO?m=4637440721552372&u=5703735355), specifically how they had to justify their choices for the WS candidates specifically (which was the main focus) through the mouths of others. Essentially, there was no discussion (maybe edited out) and also hard to believe that no contrasting opinions were raised. Seems like a fully PR stunt done for formality sake as the higher-ups (presumably extends beyond CTTA as Shandong announced CM's participation one/two months ago?) have clearly decided. Of course CM and SYS are both talented and capable in their own rights, but I just don't think the video achieved the effect that it was supposed to (raises more queries IMO). Also note that WN, ZYN and LXX were all Li Sun's disciples, while Deng Yaping was absent.

“陈梦近两年内获得9个国际比赛冠军 (but only 1 is a major tournament?)、三个国内比赛冠军,在世界杯和全国锦标赛首次获得冠军,并对主要对手伊藤美诚保持全胜,现世界排名和奥运排名均是第一位。孙颖莎,国际公开赛5个冠军,亚洲锦标赛女单冠军,国内2019全国锦标赛冠军,奥运模拟赛冠军,2019团体世界杯出任第一单打并战胜伊藤,对伊藤取得了5胜1负的战绩。刘诗雯,2019世界锦标赛单打混双冠军(what happened to her other achievements if everyone can name so many; deliberate downplaying?)。2019年后出现伤病,在各级领导的关心下,通过自己坚定的信念和努力,目前已恢复到可以参加奥运会的状态。但就目前实际情况看,也经与她本人的沟通,主要精力应该放在混双。”

Yes, Ito was basically why CM and SYS was selected – WMY must be fuming right now!! LSW was asked to give up WS for XD. At the end of the video, LGL concluded that Tokyo 2020/2021 is an extraordinary one so previous benchmark/criteria should not apply. He even specifically said that they should not fall into the fallacy of prioritising experience (经验主义) above others, but funnily Li Xiaodong cited experience in major tournaments as the key reason for the XD choice and Yin Xiao even ended the video by talking about how the three veterans (ML, LSW, XX) will play important roles in keeping the team together.

Dont think too many surprises with the selection for the ladies teams. Feel the approach was play it safe and go with the strongest team available now with best chance to get 3 gold medals available.

I get the argument and precidents in past Olympic selection. If that was the case for these games then the Team that would be selected would have been LSW, DN & ZYL. Just like the players have pressure to perform, the coaches also have pressure to deliver Gold medals or they find themselves out of coaching at the highest level for the national team. Fortune not on LSW for singles but has every opportunity to win an inaugurable Gold medal in mixed and a 2nd team Gold medal.

 
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