2015 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
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Jesus Cantero moves ever closer to beating He Zhiwen Photo By: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki

Spanish Penholders, Different in Style, Against Odds Different Outcomes

Spanish Penholders, Different in Style, Against Odds Different Outcomes
2015 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
Courtesy of ITTF

Success for one Spanish penholder, defeat for another of the same ilk; that was the situation in the second preliminary round of the Men’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm on Wednesday November 11th.

Furthermore both results were contrary to expectations, both were upsets.

Currently listed at no.223 on the Men’s World Rankings, Jesus Cantero overcame Poland’s Jakub Dyjas, named at no.87 (11-9, 14-16, 10-12, 12-10, 14-12, 11-9); He Zhiwen, listed at no.90, was beaten by England’s Sam Walker who presently stands at no.199 (11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9).

Very Different
Both are penholders but both are very different; they are as different as chalk and cheese.

Jesus Cantero is the matador, a ferocious forehand top spin whenever the chance arises. He Zhiwen, alias Juanito, is architect seeking to devise ways of upsetting the rhythm of his opponent.

Playing in French League
“This year I’ve been playing in Pro A of the French League for Rouen; that’s really helped me a great deal, it’s given a great deal of confidence”, said Jesus Cantero who had beaten a player very much in form.

One week ago in Poland, Jakub Dyjas had won the Under 21 Men’s Singles event as well as reaching the third round of the Men’s Singles compete; the 33 year old Spaniard had outgunned a young man regarded by many as one of Europe’s brightest prospects.

Changed Speed
“He’s young, he’s faster than me; I had to keep changing the speed of the play”, continued Jesus Cantero. “He is particularly strong from the backhand, both when he plays across the diagonal and when he changes direction and plays the ball down the parallel with a degree of side spin.”

Speed but Jesus Cantero is no slouch and is he is the best European born penhold grip player since the days of Milovoj Karakasevic who represent the former Yugoslavia from 1971 to 1981; or is he even better?

Sam Walker
Success for Jesus Cantero, it was defeat for He Zhiwen with Sam Walker proving the nemesis.

“I spoke to Janos Jakub before the match and he gave me advice on how the play He Zhiwen”, explained Sam Walker. Earlier this year, in the first round of the Men’s Singles event at the Qoros 2015 World Championships, Jakub Dyjas had beaten He Zhiwen in a full distance seven games encounter.

Sam Walker who showed great self-discipline to beat Juanito - Photo by Ireneusz Kanabrodzki

Sam Walker who showed great self-discipline to beat Juanito – Photo by Ireneusz Kanabrodzki

Prepared for Long Serves
“I was prepared for him to serve long and I decided to position myself at the center of the table so I could use my backhand; I felt very safe in the match with my backhand”, continued Sam Walker. “Also, of course it helped me control the play when he created angles.”

It was a shrewd move; a major strength of He Zhiwen is his ability to created angles from the backhand.

Clever Player
“Yes, he did cause me problems when he played wide to my forehand, he’s clever, very clever”, added Sam Walker. “I am usually comfortable playing against players who use pimples; I felt in a good rhythm with my play, especially at the crucial moments.”

Success for Sam Walker and he ended the day on a bright note; in the second preliminary of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, an event for which He Zhiwen has not been eligible for the last 32 years, he beat Russia’s Sadi Ismailov in three straight games (11-8, 11-4, 11-2).

Visit ITTF itTV to watch live matches; List of Matches for November 12th.

Preliminary Rounds

  • Men’s Singles
  • Women’s Singles
  • Men’s Doubles
  • Women’s Doubles
  • U-21 Men’s Singles
  • U-21 Women’s Singles

Visit the 2015 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open competition page for complete coverage.

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