Tie Yana vs Yang Haeun (Hungarian Open, January 2016)

20160124 - Tie Yana vs Yang Haeun

Lots of quick topspin exchanges in the women’s final of the Hungarian Open. Tie Yana (Hong Kong) last won a world tour singles title in 2010, whereas Yang Haeun (South Korea) has twice been a world tour runner-up. The first four sets are tight, with plenty of unforced errors. The match really comes to life at the end of the 6th set with a series of long rallies. The match goes into a deciding set, but which player will hold their nerve and claim the title? Watch to find out…

Jun Mizutani vs Chan Kazuhiro (All Japan Championships, January 2016)

20160117 - Jun Mizutani vs Chan Kazuhiro

Fast paced match between Jun Mizutani (red) and Chan Kazuhiro (yellow) in the final of the All Japan Championships. There are loads of fantastic rallies in this match. Most of the time Mizutani comes out on top, but Kazuhiro wins a couple of brilliant points – one at the end of the first set, another at 6-3 in the fifth set. Mizutani is one of my favourite players. He is great at switching from defence to attack and he always seem to play with a smile on his face. This match is an example of Mizutani at his best.

Achanta Sharath Kamal vs Ruwen Filus (German League, January 2016)

20160501 - Achanta Sharath Kamal vs Ruwen Filus

Close match between Achanta Sharath Kamal (India) and Ruwen Filus (Germany) in the German league. Achanta wins the first set and has set points in the next two sets, but somehow finds himself 2-1 down. Filus’s mixture of defensive and attacking play makes him a very tricky opponent, causing Achanta to make plenty of unforced errors. Achanta has three more set points in the 4th set. He loses the first two points, but wins the third to make it 2-2. The final set is also close. Watch to find out who wins.

Timo Boll vs Tomas Tregler (Champions League, December 2015)

20151220 - Timo Boll vs Tomas Tregler

Timo Boll is back from injury (although a bit rusty!) and playing again in the Champion’s league. His opponent in this match is Tomas Tregler from the Czech Republic who is ranked 180 placed below Boll. Timo Boll wins the first set fairly easily. He then takes an 8-3 up in the second set and the outcome of the match seems fairly predictable. But then Tregler stages a great comeback winning 8 straight points and the second set. The match is now tantalisingly poised. Can Boll get back on top or will Tregler cause a major upset? Watch to find out…

Vladimir Samsonov vs Xu Xin (World Tour Grand Finals, December 2015)

20151214 - Vladimir Samsonov vs Xu Xin

Fascinating match-up between the world’s top penholder, Xu Xin, and European legend, Vladimir Samsonov. At 39 years old, Samsonov isn’t as quick as he used to be, so he has to use all his cunning, rather than speed, to disrupt Xu Xin’s attacking game. Notice how Samsonov uses the full width of the table when pushing, blocking and flicking and how often he switches the direction of play to try and keep Xu Xin off-balance. Ultimately, Xu Xin proves to be too good, but it’s a closer match than many expected. There is also a fantastic drop shot by Xu Xin in the first set, which is definitely worth watching.

Liu Dingshuo vs Xue Fei (World Junior Table Tennis Championships, December 2015)

20151207 - Liu Dingshuo vs Xue Fei

All Chinese final of the Boys’ Singles at the 2015 World Junior Table Tennis Championships. It’s a one-sided match, with Liu Dingshuo running away with a 4-0 victory against Xue Fei. But it’s great (and frightening) to watch the emerging Chinese talent. In particular, Liu Dingshuo looks like he could be a future super-star of the game. He does have a slightly annoying habit of shouting loudly after winning each point, but hopefully he will settle down as he matures. His table tennis skills, however, are definitely worth watching. Enjoy…

Anton Kallberg vs Masaki Yoshida (German League, November 2015)

20151126 - Anton Kallberg vs Masaki Yoshida

Gripping match between Anton Kallberg and Masaki Yoshida in the German League. Kallberg takes a two set lead, playing particularly well in the second set. In the third set, Kallberg has a match point but can’t finish it off. In the fourth set, Kallberg has another match point, but once again Yoshida survives and wins the set. The match is poised for a fascinating final set. Can Kallberg overcome the disappointment of missing two match points and win in the fifth? Watch to find out…

Paul Drinkhall vs Chen Tianyuan (French League, November 2015)

20151112 - Drinkhall vs Tianyuan

Fast and furious match between Paul Drinkhall and Chen Tianyan in the French league. The first set is a little scrappy, as both players get into their rhythm. But the action really starts half way through the second set when Drinkhall finds himself a few points behind and starts unleashing some big forehand and backhand shots. Just as it seems Drinkhall is getting on top in the match, Chen Tianyuan starts playing some great attacking shots too. The match is tantalising poised at two sets all. Who will win the final set?

Liu Shiwen vs Kasumi Ishikawa (Women’s World Cup, November 2015)

20151102 - Liu Shiwen vs Kasumi Ishikawa

Impressive performance by Liu Shiwen (China) in the final of the Women’s World Cup. The first set is very close and there are some brilliant rallies. Ishikawa (Japan) has an opportunity to win the set, but can’t quite close it out. Sets 2, 3 and 4 are a bit more one-sided, as Liu Shiwen finds her best form. What I really like about Liu Shiwen is the placement of her attacks. She frequently attacks deep or wide and this puts Ishikawa under enormous pressure. It’s a good lesson for all players. You attacks should combine speed, spin AND placement.

Fan Zhendong vs Stefan Fegerl (Polish Open, October 2015)

20151025 - Fan Zhendong vs Stefan Fegerl

Fascinating match between Fan Zhendong (China) and Stefan Fegerl (Austria) in the final of the men’s singles at the Polish Open. Fegerl had already caused a huge shock in the semi-finals by beating Zhang Jike. His reward? A final against Fan Zhendong. What’s unusual about Fegerl is his close-to-the-table blocking style, which you don’t see it that often anymore. Players tend to go back and go topspin to topspin. But by staying close to the table and blocking aggressively, Fegerl is taking time away from his opponents, putting them under a lot of pressure and forcing errors. The match goes to the final set. Can Fegerl go all the way? Watch to find out.