by Kabir Nagpal
There is little left to be said about the Dragon and his exploits, but the recent month proved that we can indeed wax lyrical for a ‘Long’ time when it comes to the world no.3.
Ma Long’s performances have clearly underlined the fact the reigning Olympic and World champion has fully recovered from all his injuries. The win at the ITTF Finals was followed by another new trophy being added to his bulging collection. In Macao, he claimed gold.
Meanwhile, if there is one man who is defying expectations and setting new personal standards, it has to be Sweden’s Mattias Falck.
Previously famous for reaching the men’s singles final at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Falck now has another feather in his cap. In Macao at the quarter-final stage, he defeated world no.2, Xu Xin, for the first time ever in his career. Renewed belief in his abilities is clearly coming from the legendary Jörgen Persson. Using short pimpled rubber on the forehand, will it be an added advantage moving forwards? Time will tell.
In a time where table tennis is increasingly being dominated by upcoming teenagers, Wang Chuqin has had to face tough competition from players of his generation in the likes of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto. After his silver-medal finish in Macao, the Chinese youngster might have a claim to be the best of the triad!
An expert at creating angles from the backhand, Wang is no stranger to playing the top Chinese trio of Fan Zhendong, Ma Long and Xu Xin. Question, is Wang set to lead the next “Big Three” comprising of Harimoto, Lin and himself??
Last but certainly not the least, Jeoung Youngsik certainly set off fireworks with his efforts at the WTT event. Impressively, he reached the quarter-finals after seeing off Liam Pitchford in a five-game thriller.
The strong backhand a feature of his play, he was too strong for the Englishman. A dangerous opponent for anyone – even the Chinese – but in Macao he was not able to match the power and sheer efficiency of Ma Long in their quarter-final contest.