(by Steve Hopkins)
Just three weeks after Ma Long was ousted early in the China Olympic Trials, he falls again – this time a 4-2 to Xu Chenhao. Chenhao is a 24 second tier Chinese player who was briefly within the Top 100 in the rankings (No. 97) in 2014. That said, he’s a dangerous free-swinging player who has been a giant-killer in other events – like when he beat Xu Xin a year ago 4-0 in the 2020 Olympic Simulation Event. Chenhao seemingly swings full-speed in almost every point (with a backhand flip that is often a full swing -instead of a wrist flip “banana” and with a forehand that jumps straight to full-power instead of an incremental speed increase like many other players).
The other top seeds are still in the running, so in a few hours we’ll see if Xu Chenhao is limited to this one great match, or if he is ready to make a deeper run. As noted above, a similar story line emerged at the China Trials a few weeks ago and after upsetting Ma Long, Qihao went on to win the whole tournament. For sure, at a time when China was planning to hone their dominant team for Tokyo, some of the younger players have set out to make a name for themselves. “Chenhao” may be a name we will hear more often in the future.
Stay “In The Loop” with Butterfly professional table tennis equipment, table tennis news, table tennis technology, tournament results, and We Are Butterfly players, coaches, clubs and more.