May 3, 2017

Biggest Comebacks in Table Tennis
Here are the biggest comebacks I know of. Note that games were to 21 until the early 2000s.

  • In 1976, my first year of playing, I think at the Eastern Open, 13-year-old Curt Kronlage (son of Hall of Famer Yvonne), rated 1677, won the first game and was up 20-6 match point on Sid Jacobs, a chopper rated 1858 – and lost 16 points in a row, and lost the third badly. (I saw parts of the match, but didn’t know what was happening until afterwards.)
  • I’ve been told that Istvan Jonyer/Tibor Klampar were up 20-8 match point at the World Championships against a Chinese team in Men’s Doubles, and lost. This must have been at the 1977 Worlds, where in the round of 16 they lost to Huang Liang/Lu Yuan-Sheng, -13, 16, -19, 18, 21. (Here’s where you can find results of past Worlds.)
  • At the 2003 World Championships, Werner Schlager was down  2-3 in games and 6-10 match point in the quarterfinals of Men’s Singles against reigning world champion Wang Liqin, but came back to win. (I was watching in the stands.) Here’s video. Schlager went on to win the title.
  • At the USA Team Trials around the early 1990s, Brian Masters led 10-0 in the fifth against Jim Butler (games to 21), but lost. (I was watching in the stands.)
  • At the 2016 USA Nationals, in the Men’s Singles Final, Kanak Jha came back to win against Feng Yijun from down championship point in the fifth game, and down 4-9 in the seventh, but won seven in a row to win. (I was watching in the stands. Here’s video.)
  • At the 2014 USA Nationals, in the Men’s Singles Final, Jim Butler came back to win against Kunal Chodri from down 1-5 in the seventh to win 11-8. (I was watching in the stands. Here’s video – go to 2:08.)
  • Here are more Amazing Comebacks.

Here are some comebacks in matches I’ve played.

  • The second 2000+ player I ever beat was Benfield Munroe, at the 1979 Southern Open. He was up 20-15 match point in the fifth. I pulled out my forehand tomahawk serve, which I hadn’t used until then, and miraculously he missed it five times in a row. I won the next point on his serve, and he missed the tomahawk serve a sixth time in a row! (I blogged about this on May 3, 2016.)
  • I was down 0-10 in the fifth against Pat Cox in the Under 2400 final of the Eastern Open, circa early 1990s – and tied it up 10-10, and won 26-24.
  • In the semifinals of Handicap Singles at some 4-star tournament – games to 51 (!) – I spotted an unbelievable 45 points to some beginner, tied it up at 47-47 . . . and lost! (He scored three of those last four points on nets and edges, and smacked in one wild forehand kill.)
  • One of my proudest tournament achievements is that I’ve come back from down 20-15 match point or worse seven times in tournaments, but no one’s ever done it to me. I did blow a 20-16 match point lead once on Joe Cummings, leading to weeks of various “wits” saying, “He’s Cummings back!”

Ask the Coach
More questions answered by PingSkills – this morning they talk about anatomic handles and the book Ping-Pong Diplomacy by Nicholas Griffin.

Righties versus Lefties
Here’s an interesting interactive chart showing that of the top 300 men and women in the world, 24.75% and 18.47% respectively are lefties, which are above the worldwide average for left-handedness which is about 10% (according to Wikipedia). Lefties obviously do have at least some advantage in table tennis as players aren’t as used to playing them, and so their natural tactical instincts are for playing righties.

Worlds: Ma Long and Ding Ning Once Again Head Seeding
Here’s the ITTF article.

Hugo Calderano on Whose Shoulders Rest Brazilian Hopes
Here’s the ITTF article.

Feat Not Achieved for Four Decades, Career High for Miu Hirano
Here’s the ITTF article, featuring Hirano’s beating the top three Chinese, which was last done in . . . 1977!

Matthew Syed Admits One of His Biggest Regrets
Here’s the video (2:17) where he admits to trying to cheat against Des Douglas. (Syed and Douglas were both former English champions.)

Behind the Back Shot by Vladimir Bril
Here’s the video (25 sec).

A Little Sit Down Lobbing
Here’s the video (31 sec).

Ping Pang is Life
Here’s the video (60 sec), a compilation of hilarious short clips.

Non-Table Tennis – “Eternity and the Devil”
This morning I sold my science fiction horror story “Eternity and the Devil” to the Flametree Publishing for their upcoming Time Travel anthology. They pay well! The story is about a physicist who sells his soul to the Devil in return for solving the Grand Unified Theory, which he uses to greatly benefit mankind – he’s a good guy. When the Devil shows up and takes him to Hell, the scientist escapes into the future in a time machine, pursued by the Devil.

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