Originally, was the hot Singles winner of the World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest this year. His capability, experience and condition were all mature and Ma Long had just came back from his injury. Last time Fan was just beaten by Ma on the deuce of the 7th game of the final. Unexpectedly, Fan 2-4 lost to his junior teammate Liang Jingkun in the round of 16.
Fan Zhendong, Liang Jingkun Same Style
It was interesting to watch Fan and Liang playing against each other. They have the same style, both similar height, a bit fat, with strong backhand, relatively close to the table… etc. Liang was 22 years old and ambitious. He challenged the hot winner as a rookie without any burden. This kind of attitude was the best to bring his ability into full play, just like Zhang Jike challenging Wan Hao in the past. Liang showed a strong will to win and played well. Fan’s tactics were lack of changes and got stuck in rallies at mid- to long-distance. When Liang got used to this, Fan was getting hurried and making more mistakes. It led to his lost.
Well Use and Change of Tactics of Ma Long
Liang Jingkun entered the semi-final against Ma Long with this momentum. As the most senior teammate, Ma Long had rich experience. On the use and the change of tactics, he was apparently better than Fan Zhendong. Ma speeded up the rhythm on purpose, playing especially fiercely. Once he had some slight opportunities, he used forehand full power to attack. He did not tangle with Liang, like what Fan had done, finishing it quickly. Liang was unprepared and at a loss of what to do.
(Image Source: ittf.com)
When Liang adapting a bit, tried to use his strength backhand flip to create some chances, Ma varied the serve placements as well as the spins. It greatly disturbed Liang and destroyed his ploys. Besides, Ma kept changing the placements of rally, defend and attack frequently. It confused Liang and made him hard to smash.
As Liang was not a nimble-style player, he could not get rid of it. Most of the time he was led by the nose and could not attack much. When there was a battle between two masters, this was what they competed.
Ma Long’s Forehand Unparalleled
Watching Ma Long’s games for many years, his forehand loop motion is not small, sometimes even a bit too big, but it does not hinder his fast return. He can often catch the timing of early top bounce. Other than his proficiency, it is also due to his excellent body coordination. He can fully transfer the power of his waist, legs, whole body to the ball. What more commendable is, with the ABS new material table tennis balls, his loop quality is still high. Liang Jingkun blocked out many times. His forehand power is unparalleled in the current world.
Although Ma Long did not play against Fan Zhendong this time, with their matches against Liang Jingkun respectively, we can still tell who is stronger to a certain degree. As table tennis is particularly about the abilities of confrontation and adaptivity, sometimes it counts more by this type of indirect competitons. Ma’s performance deserves leveling the world record, wining the singles title three times in a row.