WTT Star Contender Doha 2024

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I didn't say its expert insight. It's just a calculated observation.

Obviously Harimoto isn't the first to fail to maximize their talent. That's why I compared him to Zion Williamson.
The comparison shows the level of delusion but whatever... whenever assessing Harimoto, it is important to point out which non-Chinese players are doing the things you claim Harimoto should be doing. Chinese dominance is the real theme of recent times, not Harimoto failure.
 
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I didn't say its expert insight. It's just a calculated observation.

Obviously Harimoto isn't the first to fail to maximize their talent. That's why I compared him to Zion Williamson.
Based on your 'calculated observation', who do you think is the best non-Chinese men's player at the moment?

Are you basing this on potential or past achievements?

How have they maximized their talent against CNT members in a way that Harimoto has failed to do?
 
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The comparison shows the level of delusion but whatever... whenever assessing Harimoto, it is important to point out which non-Chinese players are doing the things you claim Harimoto should be doing. Chinese dominance is the real theme of recent times, not Harimoto failure.
So, just for clarity, your opinion is that Harimoto has maximized his talent and full potential?
 
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Based on your 'calculated observation', who do you think is the best non-Chinese men's player at the moment?

Are you basing this on potential or past achievements?

How have they maximized their talent against CNT members in a way that Harimoto has failed to do?
I dont think anybody has really separated from the pack. Certainly not Harimoto.
 
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I dont think anybody has really separated from the pack. Certainly not Harimoto.

So are you saying that every pro in table tennis at the moment except for CNT players are failures like Zion Williamson?

You're pretty harsh on these players I think.
 
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So, just for clarity, your opinion is that Harimoto has maximized his talent and full potential?
My opinion is that Harimoto had clear issues even when being developed that he will have great hurdles overcoming but that he is working hard at trying to overcome them. I honestly don't know what his full potential would have been had he been born and trained in China. Just because he did well as a prodigy in the Japanese system and Chinese coaches agreed he had certain game reads that were more advanced than talents of his age in China doesn't mean that he was being coached and developed optimally. But none of that points to him being lazy or him not putting in a lot of effort to grow his talent.

I for one believe that he stopped playing junior events way too prematurely and that he should have been forced to play the WJTTC a couple of times because his win wasn't so convincing. I mean, if players like Lin Gaoyuang and Lin Shidong or Xiang Peng can play the event a few times, despite even winning the event in the case of the last two, what would have hurt Harimoto defending his title? He developed issues playing lower ranked players because he started equating achievement with entitlement and not struggle with the right mental approach to fighting. Also his technical issues on forehand and footwork were not addressed adequately because he was doing well mostly playing up, but those issues revealed themselves quite a bit against opposition at all levels, including juniors.

I think it was and is okay to expect great things from Harimoto given his age-relative achievements as a junior. But this is not a hard science, talking about talent maximization as if is a precise mathematical exercise is folly. As zeio always pointed out, Liu Guoliang said that Harimoto was obviously talented, but it remained to be seen whether the Japanese coaches could maximize his talent. And even in the Chinese system, I have been a bit disappointed by the progress of Xiang Peng as one example. And looking at people like Yu Ziyang, it is easy to forget that there was a time he beat Jun Mizutani as junior (even if a point was controversial). Then there was Lin Gaoyuan, who never won the WJTTC singles (three silver medals), but has outperformed virtually all the people who beat him in the finals except Fan Zhendong. Predicting where someone will end up from junior results is not mathematics.

Harimoto is still roughly in a good place for what his junior achievements predicted. He has done things of note, again being one of three non-Chinese QF at the WTTC in 2023 and the only one to win more than a game off his opponent (Liang Jingkun). How many male players have two WTTC singles quarter finals appearances in the last 6 to 7 years (2017 - 2023)? They are definitely all Chinese other than Harimoto (edit: maybe Boll on relfection). How can you fault someone with a singular achievement like that as being a failure? Are Calderano and Lin Yun Ju doing much better?

China invests a lot into its athletes, it has resources that other countries can only dream of. While not relevant to this, it is easy to forget that Ma Long looked like his knee was gone in 2019, and I suspect he came to the US for medical treatment, but that it wasn't really publicized or discussed because of politics. I make this point because the lengths that China goes to to make its athletes robust and immune to pressure and other things are not something one should trivialize by arguing that just because someone isn't doing what they do, that person is not successful. Harimoto if he survived the Chinese system would be a very different player.

My position is that I do not know what talent maximization outside the Chinese system looks like, but it is obvious to me that Harimoto, Lin Yun Ju and everyone else are working really hard, and we should not use the Chinese achievement level as the bar for judging the non-Chinese uncritically without accounting for a lot of things.

Last story: I remember at one event, Ma Long and Wang Chuqin made the finals or semis. Then they went to the next event and were eliminated early, Wang by Karlsson and Ma Long by Franziska. And someone who follows these things told me that the change in table and balls tripped them up and they lacked the time to sufficiently adjust between tournaments and that if I watched the matches carefully, I would see it. I point this out as the kind of thing that the Chinese eliminate at big tournaments by building practice halls and buying a lot of training balls. It is easy to lose to players when things are not all laid out for you. But if you don't get enough insight into the kinds of things the Chinese experts eliminate, you underestimate what goes into their dominance.
 
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So are you saying that every pro in table tennis at the moment except for CNT players are failures like Zion Williamson?

You're pretty harsh on these players I think.
It's hard to find an analogy for Harimoto in NBA - a great player as a junior from whom great things were expected, but who hasn't won a big title (yet). Maybe Anthony Edwards only because he is young enough to not have a clear future? At this stage in his career, I would actually compare Harimoto much more to either Lebron James or Kobe Bryant or even Jordan at the same stage, but team sports are very different. And there is nothing quite like China in the NBA, though maybe the Celtics and Lakers when Jordan was a rookie were there and the Pistons in his later years.

But the main thing is that Zion Williamson has injury and weight management issues which make some question his work ethic and I am not informed enough to evaluate that with any competence. To make it seem like Harimoto's issue is that he isn't working hard enough is puzzling, but the analogy is more about how TBH sees Harimoto. The people I know who work at these events say that Harimoto practices much more than other people (to the point of questioning the wisdom of his training volume, though this was a few years ago) and is one of the best athletes on tour. IF player development was a *hard* science, we would know what was clearly wrong with Harimoto, but outside of China, it isn't, it is largely a mystery, we just applaud the best players and pretend we know how they got there, but it is mostly survival of the fittest.
 
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So are you saying that every pro in table tennis at the moment except for CNT players are failures like Zion Williamson?

You're pretty harsh on these players I think.
No. You have not read my post or considered it.

Very few players have the talent or potential of Zion or Harimoto.

None of the players have separated, but none of them were #1 picks. Harimoto was a #1 pick and then some
 
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No. You have not read my post or considered it.

Very few players have the talent or potential of Zion or Harimoto.

None of the players have separated, but none of them were #1 picks. Harimoto was a #1 pick and then some
How does the draft system work in table tennis, and when was Harimoto picked #1? I understand you're talking in metaphors but I think you should probably explain why you're using that metaphor to us so we understand.
 
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No. You have not read my post or considered it.

Very few players have the talent or potential of Zion or Harimoto.

None of the players have separated, but none of them were #1 picks. Harimoto was a #1 pick and then some
So how many number one picks are there? Only Harimoto? Since there is at least a #1 pick every year in the NBA draft where 64 player are selected every year to join the 450 in the NVA, you mean that out of lots of TT players that play in the ITTF tour, Harimoto is the only #1 you can list? Maybe we should place all these NBA analogies in the scrap heap if they are that exacting without any basis in hard logic?

EDIT: Just saw turbozed's post asking questions along the same lines...
 
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Best NBA comp for Harimoto -- if he never breaks through to the highest level -- is Ralph Sampson. The "next Kareem" turned out to be an all star but not an MVP. Even before his injuries he was destined the be the second best player on his team behind a real all time great (Hakeem).
 
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Luck does work that way actually. With only 11 iterations, results like that are possible even if odds are close to 50/50. People have lost 11 straight hands of blackjack where odds are pretty much 50%.

Of course, Hayata vs SYS isn't 50/50. I'd say it's closer to 80/20. But we're talking about the best female player in the world and generational talent. If she can get to the 5th game and be a couple points away from winning, it's absurd to say that Hayata doesn't have at least the possibility of getting a win, even if the odds are heavily against her.

It's easy to create convenient narratives with results. But that's just putting an ex-post facto overlay on them. In the end, it will come down to variance and implied probabilities. The skill differential can put one player in a much better position to ultimately win, but variance is a factor in every sport (e.g. a lucky bounce off the net, a tipped pass resulting in an interception, a punch that lands flush on the chin).

Here, it's inarguable that variance played a big role in the 5th game, which in turn was the deciding game. If you're arguing that somehow these two females operate outside the laws of probability and variance, then good luck with that. Whatever personal failings or lack of focus she suffers from, nothing about her character influenced the fact that the entire result could've been flipped by two balls being a millimeter or two high enough on the net cord.
Where did you get the idea that I ever suggested that Hayata had no chance of winning? It's Hayata who says she is frustrated with not being able to win when she should have (3 out of 4 previous matches were 2-3 against CM). By all means, go convince Hayata that it has to do with luck.

Except that luck doesn't work that way (one last time). As pointed out in the paper I linked, even though luck cuts both ways, it tends to work in the favor of the weaker side, especially for a smaller sample size (see the quote below).

We've already seen that happen many times in the Paris 2024 cycle (2021/8/15-). Ni Xia Lian, Doo Hoi Kem, Yuan Jia Nan, Szocs, Hirano, Samara, Han Ying and Kihara have all benefited from the bo5 format. The "deviation" is even more pronounced for the men. LSS scored his first win against FZD after 14 straight losses, 13 of which happened before this cycle. LSS got a total of 3 games out of the first 12 matches (10/2013-11/2019) and in this cycle he's already gotten 5 games out of 4 matches (4-12/2023). The fact that Hayata is (still) not part of that club after 2.42 years could be an indication that the way she had played thus far did not maximize her good luck, as suggested in the paper.

Before comparing table tennis with card games, know that ML and Ovtcharov have met 20 times ONLY over 14 years (1/2009-11/2023) and the latter is still "expecting" his first win. ML and Mizutani have met 15 times ONLY over 14 years (11/2004-3/2019) and ML even wondered if Mizutani's biggest regret was not being able to win once. Mizutani should feel relieved knowing that he just had had really bad luck all these years and that regression toward the mean would've caught up with ML had his eyes allowed him to keep on playing.

女乒梦莎鱼的成人赛输外站统计 (CM/SYS/WMY's overseas losses against non-teammates in WS)
https://tieba.baidu.com/p/8641817077
女乒迪女成人赛输外站统计 (WYD's)
https://tieba.baidu.com/p/8637491794
同女的成人赛输外站统计 (CXT's)
https://tieba.baidu.com/p/8641802578
谁的外战最强?目前的外战实力排行如下,有没有遗漏? (Who has the strongest overseas record?)
https://tieba.baidu.com/p/8693219694

https://pscresearch.faculty.ucdavis...2015/03/Johnson-2013-law-of-large-numbers.pdf
https://www.semanticscholar.org/pap...Kang/786e12e750e97dcf832949ddd044395022180d50
Chance as foe
From an evolutionary perspective, the ability to control events and
to steer them in the desired direction is obviously conducive to
survival. Generally speaking, one may gain more by attempting to in-
fluence an outcome than by passively submitting to the vicissitudes of
fortune. Despite one's best efforts, however, limitations on personal
ability sometimes make failure more probable than success. It is in
these cases that one may especially benefit from the greater potential
for good luck that is presented by a smaller sample.
For example, al-
though the stronger of two closely matched teams is always some-
what more likely to win, the LLN suggests that the weaker team has
a greater chance of prevailing in a single game playoff than in a
seven game series.

However, our results provide converging evidence that such poten-
tial benefits of chance are not fully appreciated. Instead, people have a
biased attitude toward luck. Participants are not oblivious to the LLN,
and correctly associate small samples with greater chance fluctuation.
Importantly, however, they also associate small samples more with
bad luck than with good luck.
They also indicate that they distrust
luck and believe that they are less lucky than the average person
(although Study 3 suggests that their biased view of chance extends
to people other than the self).
Finally, the findings also demonstrate
an asymmetric view of the relation between luck and control. If people
believe that luck is truly random, they should also believe that good
luck, as well as bad luck, will increase as control is diminished. Instead,
participants believe that when control is surrendered, bad luck
increases, but good luck actually tends to decrease.
 
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Hayata showed some bright sign, her rally ability has gone up, looks like she has deviated from the japanese counter-topspin style to opt for more full swing stroke, which increase her spin and power. Maybe this is the "technical change" she talked about.

Now for what could've been done better, at set 5 she uses the long serve to exploit SYS backhand. Ma Lin pick up on this and after calling TO, SYS right away hit a bh winner on Hayata serve. At 7-9 Hina tried the long serve once more, she should have used a shorter serve to develop from it. SYS was already anticipating it and once again a bh winner.

In short, I think Hayata lost this time was due to her wrong tactical choice
Some Yahoo Japan comments also point to the long serve in G5. I personally see G1 as the problem.

As for the change, she has actually opted for more speed after WTT CS Frankfurt 2023 but it hasn't gone well. Judging from WTT SCT Doha 2024, she seems to be testing by mixing up speed and spin shots. On more points at the table, she tried to hit earlier with a slightly smaller swing and didn't hit as hard.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/ecc9f7ab992139c37d24283b678d843624c92fc4/comments
rok********5日前

惜しかったが12戦全敗は厳しい。相手の調子が悪い時でも勝てない程の実力差なのか。
It was a shame, but losing all 12 games is tough. Is the difference in ability so great that you can't win even when your opponent is not doing well?

Late timing and more spin with a slightly bigger swing
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=31 (and the next point)
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=96
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=115
Early timing and more speed with a slightly smaller swing
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk (and the next 3 points)
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=65
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=125
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=199
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=479
Unforced errors on receive and serve in the endgame of G1
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=88
https://youtu.be/y8qZb-82ilk?t=111

The timeline of the "model change" is getting a little messy so here is a recap.

On day 1 of Zennoh Cup Osaka, Hayata revealed that after 1-4 WMY at WTT CS Frankfurt 2023, the ugly defeat forced her to rethink how she played and she had since opted for more speed (2 weeks at that point). She expected with this change that "she may be able to beat the top 3 but may lose to other players". The latter happened immediately as she lost 2-4 to Harimoto in the final (even Harimoto mentioned in the victory interview that this was her 9th try against Hayata, losing the first 8, 7 of which in 2023). Even worse, the former failed to materialize at XTWC 2023 and she got shut out by WMY, when all her teammates peaked at the same time. Then at the start of WTT Finals Women Nagoya 2023, she revealed that she was going back before finding the right direction after XTWC 2023.

「オリンピックに出ることが目標ではなくて、オリンピックで金メダルを獲ることが目標」。早田ひな、決意のモデルチェンジ
https://world-tt.com/blog/news/archives/139493
「負けるのは時間の問題だと思っていましたから、負けたことにびっくりはしていません。ここからさらに自分自身が張本選手にチャレンジしていく気持ちで頑張らなければなりません」

<全農カップ(パリ五輪選考会)2日目のコメント>

...

●ーどの部分を変えていっているのでしょうか?

私は今まで回転を操ることが得意だったけど、よりスピードを強化して、ボールのスピードを出せるように今はやっている。それが少し合わないとミスにつながったり、相手に狙われます。自分自身、ラケット、ラバーに当たった時にどういったボールが返っていくのかというのはまだわかっていない。狙ったところに打てるようにならないと、このレベルでは勝てません。
"I thought it was only a matter of time before I lost, so I'm not surprised by the loss. From now on, I have to work even harder with the mindset of challenging Harimoto."

<Comments from the 2nd day of the Zennoh Cup (Paris Olympic Selection Tournament)>

...

-Which parts are you changing?

I've always been good at controlling rotation, but now I'm trying to improve my speed and increase the speed of the ball. If it doesn't match up even slightly, it can lead to mistakes or the opponent will target you. I still don't know how the ball will return when it hits me, my racket, or the rubber. You can't win at this level unless you can hit where you're aiming.

https://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2023/11/26/kiji/20231126s00026000508000c.html
 「最後の選考会で優勝することができて、本当に本当にうれしい。(今大会出場選手で)唯一、これまで試合をして勝ったことがないのが早田選手だったので、早田選手と対戦するまでは負けないように、という気持ちだった。今後の自信にもつながる試合だった」

 小学6年で初めて早田と対戦してから今回が9度目だったといい、両親らからは「10回にいくまでに1回、勝てたらいいね」と言葉を掛けられていた。ようやく手にした初勝利。世界ランク5位の早田からも「試合をするたびに強くなっている」と称えられた。
"I'm really, really happy to have won the final selection tournament. Hayata was the only one (among the players participating in this tournament) that I had never defeated once, and so I told myself not to lose before running into Hayata. It was a match that would give me confidence going forward."

This was her 9th time playing against Hayata since she first played in 6th grade, and her parents told her, "it would be great to be able to win at least once before the 10th try". She finally got her first victory. Hayata, who is ranked 5th in the world, also praised her, saying, "she's getting stronger every time we play."
 
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