Soo Yeon Lee in action for Spin New York
Photo By: Samantha Sun
China vs. World Team Challenge
Li Xiaoqiang, more accustomed to being a model, won the final point against Susan Sarandon, more accustomed to film camera, to secure victory for Shanghai against the New York SPiN Club at the Volkswagen 2011 China Versus World Team Challenge in the Luwan Stadium, late on the afternoon of Saturday 25th June 2011.
The final result in favour of Shanghai was 41-39 in a contest where players competed in relay fashion, four points, two serves each and then replaced by a colleague.
It was success for Cao Yanhua, Li Xiaoqiang, Hong Wei, Wu Sihai and Zhang Deying against Franck Raharinosy, Soo Yeon Lee, Jonathan Bricklin, Susan Sarandon, Wally Green and Andrew Gordon.
Imparting spin on the ball was an advantage decreed by compere Dong Wang, deemed an unfair advantage.
Cao Yanhua and Zhang Deying, both former World champions and both gaining their titles in an era when the penhold grip was favoured by the Chinese coaches for their female players, imparted spin on the ball with natural ease.
Simply for those who had not played table tennis professionally or at levels beyond the local club, the spin was mesmeric.
Shades of Xu Xin
Equally Hong Wei, for the Chinese team, underlined the fact that it was not the first time he had held a table tennis racket. Perhaps he was motivated by Xu Xin in the previous match that had taken place when the Chinese star had faced Timo Boll.
Penhold grip, serve and finish matters immediately was his ploy.
Meanwhile, for the SPiN New York Team, Wally Green, who is on his way to compete in the ITTF Pro Tour tournaments in Korea and Japan, sporting a haircut that resembles hay field flattened by a hailstorm or a dead wasp, was equally deft in the service department.
Zheng Deying found the Americanís services too hot to handle.
Wally Green (left) faces Cao Yanhua in the Luwan Stadium
Equally, Soo Yeon Lee, a product of the Korean school of coaching, showed herself to be an elegant defender and was stylishly dressed for the occasion.
Similarly she had platted her hair for the occasion but of course was little match in the tonsure department for the Wally Green crown topper.
However, for all concerned it was fun.
In a Spin
Franck Raharinosy started matters for New York SPiN but facing Cai Yanhua was a rather awesome proposition; SPiN New York was in a spin!
It was for Jonathan Bricklin and Andrew Gordon, who sported a bat that would have fallen foul of the officials in the racket control centre and for Wu Sihai of the Shanghai team, an experience to be enjoyed.
Likewise it was fun for Susan Sarandon and surely there was to be a true Hollywood ending.
Susan Sarandon and Li Xiaoqiang faced each other with the New York SPiN Team trailing 38-40; reaching 41 points was the goal.
The scene was set; surely, Susan Sarandon would save the two match points and then would enter the arena to win the sudden death point?
She saved one match point but not a second; Li Xiaoqiang jumped for joy, melodrama.
Not a happy ending? Well yes, everybody was happy. Table tennis is fun, fun to watch and fun to play.
Ma Long and Ma Lin look on as Susan Sarandon plays her favoured backhand
Photos by Samantha Sun