October 3, 2017

Jun Mizutani vs. Interactive Robot
Here’s the video (66 sec). Suppose you entered this robot in a U.S. tournament, and ignore the fact that its serve is illegal. What rating would it achieve? It would be reminiscent of when they started entering computers in chess tournaments.

It mostly just keeps the ball in play, often high, and without spin. Alas, I don’t think it can adjust very well to spin – Mizutani (world #8 from Japan, #4 in February) is mostly just patting the ball back and forth without spin - so that right away would probably put it below 1000. On the other hand, 49 sec in Mizutani soft loops the ball, and the robot returns it with ease, though a bit high. How would it react to a heavy backspin serve, push, or chop? Or a fast serve to a corner? Or fast breaking sidespin serve? Or a heavy topspin lob?

As to its serve, it breaks two serving rules. (Go to 34 seconds in to see it serving.)

  • 2.06.01: Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand. 
  • 2.06.04: From the start of service until it is struck, the ball shall be … behind the server's end line.

However, there’s also this rule:

  • 2.06.07: Exceptionally, the umpire may relax the requirements for a correct service where he or she is satisfied that compliance is prevented by physical disability. 

Since the robot doesn’t have palms, I think the umpire may relax the 2.06.01 requirement due to physical disability. However, I don’t see how we can get past 2.06.04, since the ball seems in front of the end line throughout the serve. But I am impressed that it seems to fulfill the rest of the requirements, even doing a six-inch toss, and contrary to most world-class players, it doesn’t illegally hide the serve!!!

Chinese Table Tennis: Liu Guoliang Comments in Trial WTTC 2017
Here’s the article and video (8:16) from EmRatThich. “[In China], you only have 2 chances in your table tennis career.”

Lin Gaoyuan Backhand Flick Technique
Here’s the video (11 min), showing it in slow motion. It’s in Chinese, but you only need to watch. The lefty Lin is currently ranked “only” #29 in the world, but will likely be going up. Notice how he moves to receive backhand against short serves to the forehand? Many of the top players in the world now do that. Key thing to note – see how high he (and others doing this) puts his elbow for the shot? One small surprise – after doing the backhand flip, he gets caught and takes another backhand from the wide forehand. Usually he and others who do this get back quickly and would take that shot with the forehand.

Match Analysis
Here is some great match analysis from Zoom Table Tennis. Every month or so they pick out a match between two of the best players in the world and analyze it.

Across the Net
Here’s the October newsletter of the Melton Table Tennis Association from Australia, which always has some interesting articles. (Here are their archives.)

Happy 52nd Birthday to Jan-Ove Waldner!
Here are 12 pictures. (See #11 – does he golf left-handed???) This is a Facebook album, but I’m hoping those not on Facebook can still see it.

ITTF Rough Diamonds, Setting a New Standard for the Future
Here’s the ITTF article. USA players attending (and pictured0 are Amy Wang, Nikhil Kumar, Aditya Godhwani, Victor Liu, and Coach Zhou Xin.

Table Tennis Tidbits #10
Here’s the USATT article (with link to video) by Robert Ho. “Shades of Takashima?  Omni-potent Ma: ’15 World Tour Grand Final.”

USATT Has a New Referee
Here’s the short article from Samson Dubina. “Congrats to Blake Cottrell for being the first person in the last decade to get a perfect score on the USATT Written Referee Test and Draw!”

ITTF Satisfied with Preparations for 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the ITTF article.

Defending Champions Dominate Para Table Tennis Euros
Here’s the ITTF article. Here’s the home page for the European Paralympics, which are taking place Sept. 26 – Oct. 5 in Lasko, Slovakia.

Top Ten Amazing Table Tennis Shots
Here’s the video (3:17). You’ve probably seen most of these before, but now they are compiled in one video.

The Truman Show - Truman Sleeps (Ping Pong Video Song)
Here’s the video (2:14) – music by ping-pong balls!

Pong Shootout?
Here’s the repeating gif image!

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