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.

How to play table tennis like the Chinese

I’ve been watching videos of the Chinese players quite a lot recently. It’s a joy to watch these players in their full attacking flow. Apart from the occasional surprise loss, their standard of play is in a different league to other players in the top 20. From my many hours of watching these great players, I’ve identified a few things I think we can all learn from them and try and implement in our own game….

Ma Long vs Xu Xin (Chinese Super League, June 2015)

20150615 - Ma Long vs Xu Xin

The top two players in the world face each other in the Chinese Super League. Ma Long is the player in form, winning the recent World Championships and playing some of the best table tennis of his life. But you can never rule out the super spinny penhold play of Xu Xin. Who will win the latest contest?