Tuesday, December 9, 2008

world junior championships 2008

This year, the 2008 World Junior Championships are being held in Madrid, Spain. The US has sent Olena Sowers, Lily Zhang, Ariel Hsing, and Isabella Chen for the Junior Girls' Team, and they caught the attention of everyone on Saturday in the team event:


After being down 2-0 against Chile, Olena Sowers (one of Atha and my good friends and teammates in last year's World Junior Championships at Stanford University in California) turned the tie around and sparked a comeback that kept the US from elimination in the first round of the team event. While the US ended up falling to Japan the next morning, they still caused quite a stir with their 3-2 come-from-behind win over Chile. Click here for the story from ittf.com.

For more stories and live results from Worlds, click here or visit ittf.com.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

regionals 11-16-08

The New York City region had its regional tournament on Sunday, November 16, at FIT in downtown Manhattan. The tournament itself was a huge success thanks to the quick, efficient set-up and clean-up before and after the tournament (props!), and because of the tournament's huge turn-out. Co-ed matches lasted from about 10am to after 7pm, and the women's matches lasted from about 10am to around 3pm. In both co-ed and women's, Rutgers dominated the scene by going undefeated in both events, so congratulations to the Rutgers' co-ed team: Judy Hugh, Adam Formal, Iuliana Radu, Wing "Leon" Sit, and Jin Yang; and to the Rutger's women's team: Judy Hugh, Iuliana Radu, Jin Yang, Rekha Bachwani, Shriya Patel, and Elizabeth Cho. On another bright note, Columbia's co-ed and women's teams both got 2nd behind Rutgers, losing only to Rutgers, so KUDOS to the Columbia co-ed team: Carlos A. Perilla, Victor Leung, David Loeffler, Vanck Zhu, Shih-Hung Hsu, James Skoufis, Kagan Irez, and me; and to the women's team: Lina Cao, Jenny Chen, Wendy Mu, Vivian Wang, Dehui Kong, and me!

This was the first of two regional tournaments (the next one will be in the spring), and the top two teams from each region get a bid to the College Nationals, being held in Minnesota this year. Although the tournament took basically all day and drained the hell out of everyone there, it was great to see old friends and meet new ones. Teams that went included Columbia, Yale, Stonybrook, Rutgers and NYU, [among others], and some matches got heated and intense; the best ones to watch throughout the day were probably NYU vs Stonybrook (or really NYU vs anyone, what with their energy level and team spirit, contributed mostly by Joe Kim) and Columbia vs Rutgers, with both ties going down to the wire: NYU and Rutgers both won in the 5th game of the 5th team match (the format of NCTTA tournaments are best 3 out of 5 team matches, with 4 singles and 1 doubles, so if you see tight doubles matches going on, chances are that the team tie is at stake).

I was silly and forgot my camera, so the following pictures are credited to Shih-Hung Hsu:

David Loeffler:

Judy vs Carlos:


Victor Leung:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New ITTF Eligibility Rule FOR NON US-CITIZENS UNDER 21

Recently, the US Women's Olympic coach, Teodor Gheorghe, emailed me with these news:

"If any[one] was born in another country and never represented USA at the World Junior Championships and want[s] to represent USA in the future, please read the attached document, fill out and sign the form... and send it back to me ASAP"

And since I can't figure out how to put the actual document up, here's the copy and pasted version:

New ITTF Eligibility rule registration form

According to the new ITTF eligibility rule, players under 21 years old and were born in another country, but wish to represent the United States have to be registered with ITTF through USATT.

The new eligibility rule applies only for the World Title events - World Championships, World Junior Championships, and World Cup and is as follows:

In addition to the provisions of 3.8 (the general rule of eligibility) players being eligible to represent an association other than the one they intend to represent, shall register with the ITTF, through this new association.

Such players shall not represent the new association before:
* 3 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 15 when registered;
* 5 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 18 but at least 15 years of age when registered;
* 7 years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 21 but at least 18 years of age when registered.

Players being 21 years of age or older will not be registered with the ITTF and will not be eligible to represent a new association at World Title events.

Players who have already represented USA at a previous World Title event will keep that eligibility and do not need to register with ITTF.

Players who are under 21 years of age, born in another country, and have never represented USA at a World Title event must fill out and sign the below application for registration with the ITTF and send it to USATT HQ, attention Doru Gheorghe or by email to:
Doru@usatt.org

So, if this applies to you, and you want to represent the US in future international tournaments, EMAIL DORU for the form!!! I also have a copy of the form as well, so you can email me at so90crazy@gmail.com too, but it would probably be better for you to just contact Doru directly.

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tibhar's SINUS

Despite its ridiculous-sounding name, Sinus is a really great rubber. It's the sort of off-spring/next generation of Nimbus, and was designed specifically with the forehand and those who are used to hard, spinny rubbers in mind. Actually, the Nimbus was really intended to be mostly a backhand rubber, but it's definitely versatile and all-around enough for a forehand rubber (I used it for around four months until last night, when I tried Sinus). For anyone who's looking for that powerful, explosive, spinny shot that you used to have with harder sponges, definitely try this one out. I like it more than Butterfly's Tenergy, because I feel like you get a better grip on the ball with Sinus, and more control overall.

And to answer Alex's question from the last post, I was talking specifically about Butterfly's glue... Sorry for any confusion or issues that ambiguity may have caused!

Sorry it's been a while, but college life tends to catch up to you...

Speaking of which, college table tennis has definitely been an experience. I would venture to say that the Columbia table tennis team practices quite a lot for a college team, and that we're a relatively cohesive one at that. No politics or animosity or anything like that, and that's always a good thing. For anyone who doesn't know how collegiate table tennis works, there is an organization (NCTTA): http://nctta.org/index.html. There are different regions all across the country (Columbia is in the New York City region with NYU, Rutgers, Cooper Union, Yale, Stevens Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University, FIT, Stonybrook, NJIT, and a few other teams that are inactive this year), and teams within each region play each other at regional tournaments (ours is coming up in November!) and the top two teams from each region go to Nationals at the end of the school year. Anyone applying to college or looking at colleges that still wants to play or start playing table tennis, look to see if your schools have a club or a team. If yes, then join, if not, then look to start your own club!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

more on water glue

So I know that in the last post I listed a few rubbers that would fall under the "Hurricane of the new era" category, but I tried out another one today that I would definitely add to the list: Butterfly's Tenergy. Compared to other new rubbers, the Tenergy's sponge is VERY hard and could be comparable with Hurricane; it has the same relative hardness, is quite spinny, and can deliver a pretty explosive shot. For anyone who uses Hurricane and is looking into rubbers to try out, I'd definitely suggest trying this one out before you get used to a softer sponge; the only reason I'm not flying off the walls crazy about the rubber is because I'm used to my Nimbus (Tibhar) now and I like it a lot, so I'm sort of over my "I-have-to-use-Hurricane" phase. In any case, there will never be another rubber exactly like Hurricane, so I'm over looking for a replacement.

For anyone using water glue for the first time, this is how you go about gluing: take your new sheet of rubber out of the packaging, and leave it out in open air for around 3 days. The reason you're supposed to leave it out is so the "speed effect" built in the sponge can sort of sink in and "breathe"; I'm not exactly sure how racket inspections/testing will work, but I've been told that unless your sponge gets the 72 hours of open air it needs, it could fail the test. Anyway, after 3 days, put a glob of glue roughly the size of a quarter, maybe a little smaller, in the middle of the sponge, and spread it out as evenly as possible; any bumps will be immediately noticable when you put the rubber on the blade. Water glue looks basically just like Elmer's glue (the white pastey stuff we used in like first grade for arts and crafts), and is just as harmless- the gluing process can get VERY messy, so make sure you have a tissue handy, but in case it gets on your hands or something, it's not toxic.. no biggie. To glue the blade, use a very small glob of glue and spread it evenly. When wet, the glue looks white, but will look transparent when dry, so you'll definitely be able to tell when it's dry. It should take only about 5-10 minutes for everything to dry. One layer of glue for both wood and rubber is definitely enough, and it wouldn't make a bit of difference if you use more glue anyway, so the whole gluing process should take no more than 10-15 minutes, if even that much. Plus, gluing can be a one-time experience for each rubber; you do it once and never again (unless you need to because it's coming off or something like that).

Overall, I'm pretty chill with the new glues/rubbers. My only issue is that my forehand rubber (Tibhar's Nimbus) has sort of a short lifespan; while I only need to glue it once, it usually doesn't last me more than 2 or 3 months. But, it's nice not to have to worry about gluing before practice anymore, and I'm down for not inhaling poisonous toxins any day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

dealing with water glue (yes, you have to now)

Ok, so it's been September for a while, and for those who don't know, this means that the table tennis world officially has to start using ONLY water-based glue. Water glue really is going to change the game, as shown by Li Xiaoxia, winner of the Volkswagen Women's World Cup earlier this month; Li has real power, and she has never needed to rely on her rubber and glue to get by, unlike most people, and therefore blew away the competition. That's right, people will no longer be able to blame a bad match on a bad gluing job, because gluing is essentially no longer important and plays little to no role in actual play.

I said it before and I'll say it again: FOR PEOPLE WHO NORMALLY USE HURRICANE, GIVE IT UP. I know it's hard and I know Hurricane is an amazing rubber, but I can guarantee you 110% you will not be able to use it anymore. Using Hurricane is especially out of the question now that Optimizers are officially illegal. The way the rubbers of the new age work is that the stuff that made speed glue speedy is now built into the sponges. This the reason why you only need to glue a sheet once and never again; regluing is not necessary because the "stuff" isn't in your glue anymore (it's been about two months since the last time I glued). It's weird to imagine gluing only about once every two or three months, but it's been great, because I don't need to sit and glue my Hurricane for 10-20 minutes anymore, and there is no unpredictability in my rubbers' performance. Definitely, for sure, absolutely, positively, undeniably, you're going to need to take some time to look into company's new lines of rubber, try them out, and get used to them (Tibhar, Donic, Butterfly, and Xiom have come out with pretty good ones, but, obviously, not everyone will like the same ones).

In addition to investing in new rubbers, you probably will need to try out new blades too; depending on how long you've been using your current one(s), it may be considered illegal because speed glue from before has been absorbed into the wood. Also, blades of a certain hardness may just not match up with whatever new rubber you get, so that's going to require some mixing and matching as well.

Shots with the new rubbers aren't as spinny or as powerful as with speed glue, but this definitely is not to say that making powerful or spinny shots is impossible. All I'm saying is that you absolutely cannot depend on your glue or your rubber to make your shots for you anymore. It will take some work and some getting used to, but it is definitely doable. Good luck to everyone in making the switch! It's kind of a pain, I know, but we don't have a choice, do we...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zhang Yining withdraws from Panasonic China Open



Looks like she decided to pursue a career in modeling instead.

I'm just kidding.

But, seriously, looks like the China Open women's title is up for grabs.

Click here to read more on ittf.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

US Nationals Tournament Hotel

They finally changed the tournament hotel to the Las Vegas Hilton for the US Nationals! It's about time for a change...the Stratosphere was just too far from both the Strip AND the Convention Center, and the Riviera was plain out dingy. At least the Hilton is close to the Convention Center and a decent hotel :).

Use reference code USA Table Tennis for the discount price of $70/night. Make your reservation before November 13, 2008 to get this rate!!

Click here for full details.

Olympic gold easier than World Championships gold?


According to table tennis legend Jan-Ove Waldner it sure is! Look at what ITTF quoted him as saying:

"Prior to the competition Jan-Ove Waldner was asked whether it was easier to win the Men's Singles title at the Olympic Games or the World Championships.

He answered with a wry smile. 'The Olympics, there you only have to beat three Chinese,' he said. 'In the World Championships you have to beat six!'"

WORD!

Click here to read more on ITTF.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Volkswagen Women's World Cup


Why hello there, everyone! Sorry for this lack of posting...life just catches up with us sometimes. Hold on just a sec as a stretch my typity-type-type fingers for some posting...

Oh yeah, as I warm up my typity-type fingers, Steph just started school at Barnard this last week! How exciting!

Okay, so the Volkswagen Women's World Cup. Went down yesterday. Lemme guess who won...China? Was I right? Oh, yep, China did win! Yay for me.

But, hey! Look! A new name came up -- up-and-comer Li XiaoXia won the title in Kula Lumpur. Second seed Li (born in 1988) basically crushed the competition, defeating Hong Kong's Tie Yana in four straight games in the final. Now that the Olympics are over, time to look for some fresh blood to replace old-timer Wang Nan...

Click here to read the whole story at ittf.com.

Monday, September 8, 2008

videos from beijing olympics

Sorry these took so long!

Singles- early rounds
William Henzell (AUS) vs Jens Lundqvist (SWE)
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Jian Fang Lay (AUS) vs Sandra Paovic (HRV)

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Peng Zhang [aka Wilson Zhang] (CAN) vs Seiya Kishikawa (JPN)

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Singles- Women's QF and Men's Round of 16

Wang Chen (USA) vs Li Jiawei (SIN)
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Zhang Yining (CHN) vs Feng Tianwei (SIN)

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Wang Nan (CHN) vs Tie Yana (HKG)

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Wu Xue (DOM) vs Guo Yue (CHN)

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Wang Hao (CHN) vs Yo Kan (JPN)

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Jorgen Persson (SWE) vs Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) video video video

Ma Lin (CHN) vs Kalinikos Kreanga (GRE)
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Werner Schlager (AUT) vs Wang Liqin (CHN)

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Timo Boll (GER) vs Oh Sang Eun (KOR)

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Women's SF

Zhang Yining (CHN) vs Li Jiawei (SIN)

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Wang Nan (CHN) vs Guo Yue (CHN)
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Check out older posts for more videos! (I didn't want to post the same videos twice). A link to a photobucket album will be available soon =]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

biggest lesson from the olympics: CHANGE UP THE PACE

After watching so many Olympic table tennis, the most noticable thing I picked up from different matches was this: no matter how hard or how fast someone may rip the ball, as long as his/her opponent switches up the pace, the opponent can always pull it out. The three matches in which a player completely tripped up his/her opponent by changing the tempo and rhythm of the game are Zhang Yining vs Feng Tianwei (women's quarterfinal), Guo Yue vs Wang Nan (women's semifinal), and Ma Lin vs Wang Hao (men's final).

When interviewed after her match, Zhang Yining, who had to use her back-up racket because her main one didn't pass inspection before the match, acknowledged Feng's spectacular effort, and admitted that the only way she pulled out of the match was by messing with Feng's rhythm. Feng plays a pretty straightforward game, serve-attack and rallying with a strong forehand. Feng has beaten Zhang before and has shown time and again that she can keep up with Zhang (see videos). Given that Zhang may have already been off mentally because of her racket, and the way Feng played that night, it is quite possible that if Zhang just got into rallying contests with Feng, Feng would have come out on top; Zhang herself even admitted that unless she did something to make Feng feel uncomfortable and off-balance, she would have lost the match. Once they got into rallies that were about 50-50, Zhang would suddenly throw in a slower shot, letting the ball come a little closer to her body, giving the feeling almost that she "caught" the ball before looping it back. That extra fraction of a second that you keep the ball on your side of the net, especially when your opponent likes and is very comfortable with a fast game, is enough to throw him/her off and get him/her to hit the ball off the table off the edge of his/her racket. Zhang's signature move is her backhand, which appears to be late (timing-wise); in fact, her timing is late, but she has the touch and ability to control her shots. She seems to absorb all of the oncoming ball's momentum, and she seems like a wall when nobody can get shots by her.

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Like I mentioned before, Guo Yue came out of the gates strong against Wang Nan in the women's semifinal (winning the first game at 3 and the third game at 4), and it appeared that it would be relatively smooth sailing for Guo, until Wang slowed down the game considerably. Wang threw off Guo's rhythm by literally slowing down the game: Wang took her time picking up the ball, took her time before serving, and took her time getting ready to receive Guo Yue's serves. While it was sort of annoying and tedious to watch, Guo Yue was noticably affected by the change of pace. Guo began to rush shots, making countless unforced errors and was never really able to turn the game around. In addition to literally slowing down the tempo of the game, Wang also started to mix in higher, slower, spinnier shots with low, fast rips, and the over-anxious Guo (who loves and excels at a fast, even-paced game) couldn't handle the variety; either Guo would be at mid-court expecting a hard and fast shot, but getting a slow, arching shot, or she would just be on her toes to the point of falling forward, waiting for a shot to get to her. This was also a classic example of experience and ability to make effective shots trumping youth, power, and over-zealousness. The first video is an example of Guo Yue's typical favorite rally (fast-paced, even paced); the second video is an example of Wang Nan changing up the pace, throwing in fast shots and slow, arching ones, and even though Guo acually won this point, it is clear she wasn't comfortable with the shots she got and that she was completely leaning forward; finally, the third video shows a point that Wang Nan won by varying tempo, arc, and spin, and it demonstrates that you don't necessarily need to rip the ball hard to win a point.

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The match between Ma Lin, the Men's Singles gold medalist, and Wang Hao is the most telling. Typically in men's matches, men really go at it and try to rip everything as hard as they can. However, in this match, it was clear that Ma Lin was feeling the pressure, excitement and nervousness of fighting for the gold medal, and that he coped with it by making almost vertical shots; as the match progressed, he wasn't so quick or eager to try for insane rips, so instead, he started to swing virtually upward, sending the ball high and spinny over the net. Wang Hao, who probably expected a fast game from his compatriot, couldn't handle the constant change of pace. Ma's shots were so spinny and so slow, and Wang was so anxious and nervous, and something had to give. Wang ended up making a LOT of unforced errors, missing random blocks, and never really getting a chance to get on offense. It was sort of ironic that a man with a game so slanted toward strong attacks resorted to slow, weak shots to be effective, but it is not the first time we have seen that a constantly changing pace in a match can upset and opponent.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WANG HAO CHOKES AGAIN!

Well, I wish I could say something interesting about the matches between Wang Liqin (CHN)/Jorgen Persson (SWE) for the bronze and Wang Hao (CHN)/Ma Lin (CHN) for the silver... but I really, really can't.

I give Persson a whole lot of credit for making it all the way to the final four. At 40+ years old, making it to the bronze play-off isn't easy, especially when table tennis is dominated by Asian players, so kudos to Persson!

And, as much as I dislike Ma Lin, kudos to him too. He's looked great all tournament, and he made the world's #1 ranked male player look lost. The reason Atha and I dislike Ma Lin very much is his terrible sportsmanship. An example is his attitude today in his semifinal match against fellow teammate, Wang Liqin; he was showy and obnoxious, and it would be one thing if he showed up somebody from a rival country, but it's definitely not cool to do it to your own teammate. I guess this is a matter of opinion, but to me, it's arrogance and bad sportsmanship.

Wang Liqin took it well, and took the bronze, beating Persson in straight sets. In fact, Wang Liqin has taken a lot of crap pretty well, especially considering he'll probably never have a chance at a gold medal again, and that the 2004 gold medal could have [and probably should have] been his. I really admire him for his dignity and for his composure. For people who don't know, this is what happened in Athens: Wang Liqin and Wang Hao met in the semifinals, and the winner would move on to play Korea's Ryu Seung Min for the gold. Wang Liqin was told to lose to Wang Hao on purpose, because Wang Hao had a much better record against Ryu. So, Wang Liqin lost and Wang Hao got the spotlight, but choked. Badly. I forget what his record was against Ryu, something like 2 losses and 7 wins, but basically, Wang owned him.

But Wang froze up, embarrassing himself, disappointing the Chinese, and shocking the world. And the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, of all places, was his opportunity to redeem himself. He's been playing extremely well of late, and had looked completely dominating throughout the last couple of weeks, but looked completely shut down against Ma Lin tonight. Against everyone else he played, Wang Hao really looked like the world's #1, but against Ma, he just looked... lost, like he didn't know what was going on. He made unforced errors all over the place, always found himself trailing and having to work really hard to fight back, and missed routine shots. An example is when he was down 7-5 in the 5th; he missed two routine backhands that put him down 9-5, two points away from losing the match and that could have tied the score at 7-7 to give himself a chance at coming back.

Still, I don't really feel sorry for him... he was basically given the gold on a silver platter last Olympics, and still couldn't get it. He clearly has problems performing on the big stage; he was simply out-done by better players in 2004 and 2008, Ryu Seung Min and Ma Lin. Ma was pumped all day, starting in the semi's and carrying all the way to the end (so excited, in fact, that he came close to ripping off his shirt after winning the match... ew). He came out the gates with fire in his eyes, pressuring Wang Hao and shutting down the world's #1 from the start, never giving him the chance to come back. Since they are both from China, neither of them had coaches for the match, and this definitely favored Ma Lin; Ma is a little bit older than Wang Hao and has been on the big stage more, so when it came down to a mental and emotional competition, Ma won by a long shot. Ma usually has a tendency to choke or suddenly be tentative when he has a lead (as in the 2007 World Championships final against Wang Liqin), but not tonight; he held on and hung tough the whole match, and it paid off.

Once again, expected, but anticlimactic: China's men sweep medals in singles. Congratulations to all six Chinese players, and to everyone who put up one hell of a fight!

Friday, August 22, 2008

all three medals go to china

As Atha said... expected result, but anticlimactic. Actually, the match between Li Jiawei (SIN) and Guo Yue (CHN) was far from dull, as was the match between Li and Zhang Yining this morning. The match between Wang Nan and Guo Yue, on the other hand, was pretty boring (I watched the women's semi's in person this morning).

Women's SF
Zhang Yining (CHN) vs Li Jiawei (SIN): 4-1 (-9, 8, 10, 8, 5)

Li Jiawei started out taking the first game, like in the teams final, and looking pretty sharp. However, she still couldn't pull through, losing the next three very tight games. Li wasn't able to hang on to any leads she had (including a 6-3 lead), and Zhang simply performed better in the clutch, plain and simple.

The thing about Zhang Yining's game is that her rallying skills are so good and so solid that she can let her opponent attack and still win, but when she actually needs to turn up the offense, she can do it and not screw up. Basically, she's a coach's dream. She's calm and collected, doesn't choke, and can pull through when the going gets tough.

Anyway, she seemed to have a harder time against Li today than in the team final, when (with the exception of the first game, which Li won at 9) Li only managed 14 points in the 3 games she lost. This time, Li took her shots, smashing forehands (she uses pips on her forehand) and putting points away when she had opportunities [see videos below for examples], and just putting more umph on her forehands than last time.

Don't get me wrong, Li did play very well in their last meeting, but was much more aggressive and seemed to be much more into the match this time around. She put up a great fight, but really is just no match for Zhang Yining.

BUT... what sort of creeped me out a little bit was that after the match ended and Zhang Yining was about to leave, I looked down at her feet and couldn't believe what I saw... CROCS. YELLOW crocs, of all colors... personally I think crocs are man's worst invention ever, and the only reason I didn't completely lose respect for Zhang right then and there is that she's so incredible. O_o eek...

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CROCS?!?! Oh boy...


Wang Nan (CHN) vs Guo Yue (CHN): 4-2 (-3, 8, -4, 7, 3, 6)

I'll admit, I REALLY wanted Guo Yue to win, but the veteran Wang Nan pulled through. Initally, I thought Wang Nan was going to win in a landslide, because neither of them had coaches (because both of them are from China). Wang Nan has been around for a while and can probably do without a coach, but Guo Yue has a tendency to choke or freeze and is probably a whole different player when she has no coach. Guo started off the match looking great, ripping forehands and just playing her normal game.

However, Wang started to slow the game down a lot, taking her time picking up the ball and before serves. Who knows how much this affected Guo Yue, but the match started to turn around; Guo started making all sorts of random unforced errors, missing routine (for her) forehands, and started going into backhand-backhand rallies (Wang Nan's strongest game). Instead of challenging and pressuring Wang's wide forehand, which she can no longer catch up to because of her...advanced age, Guo ended up getting herself into a consistency contest, which she would lose to Wang Nan any day. Anyway, it quickly became apparent that the youngster couldn't get herself back into the match, losing the last three games without making much noise.

Well, congratulations to the Chinese players! The bronze medal went to Guo Yue, the silver to Wang Nan, and the gold to Zhang Yining. Kudos to Zhang Yining! She really is something, and being able to get gold medals in singles two consecutive Olympics is no small feat, and, as she herself acknowledged in an interview after the championship match, not at all easy. She truly is the world's #1 female table tennis player right now, and as she's shown in match after match, she has earned and deserves that title. So, while I'm not so thrilled about China getting all three medals (the men will probably have the same result, with all three of them in the top 4), I am absolutely elated for Zhang Yining. She's humble, modest, and a total star.

Check back soon for pics and videos! They'll be up soon, I promise...