16 Apr 2017

Defending champion David Powell survived a seven game duel against the classic stroke making of Mathew Ball.

by Wade Townsend

Men’s top seed David Powell (AUS) saw off a surprisingly strong performance from New Zealand’s Mathew Ball, winning their semi-final encounter in seven games.

Ball went in to the match using a passive game. Unafraid to block, he put the pressure on Powell to take risks. At times the Kiwi would make a forehand played down the line in a similar vein to William Henzell’s trademark counter.

The tactic was working and the defensive play led Powell to try get some serious muscle behind the ball when the deciding game got underway. The extra spin paid off.

With Powell up 5-3, Ball made two impressive serves that resulted in two direct misses from the Aussie to bring the match to serve misses. 5-5

But in a time of need the experienced Australian went back to the old faithful of backhand to backhand rallies and took five consecutive points.

The final score, 11-7 in the seventh.

“It felt like he was the better player after the first game. I was happy with the first ten points I played, but doing during the mid-stage of the match he was on top of me.” David Powell

With humid conditions using too much power was out of the question.

“We were both serving half long, trying to use a lot of spin in the rally.” David Powell

Throughout the match Ball seemed to playing a very classic style of play that impressed the Australian.

“Matt made some really old school forehands down the line that were pretty awesome.” David Powell

In the other half of the draw Kane Townsend (AUS) saw off a spirited Yoshua Shing.

Shing had a chance 10-9 up in the fourth to get the score to 3-2, but two long serves from Shing didn’t quite make the grade Townsend took the match 4-1.

In the Women’s draw Melissa Tapper and Jian Fang Lay cruised in to the final, in what will be a repeat of last year’s semi-final. In Melbourne it was Tapper that came out on top.

Straight games wins for both Lay and Tapper. Lay defeated Natalie Paterson (NZL) while Tapper took down in form junior Solenn Danger (NCL)

Danger and Paterson will face off this afternoon for the bronze medal and a noticeably larger cheque.

Jian Fang Lay is imperious in Suva. (Photo: Jioji Productions)
2017 ITTF Oceania Cup & Junior Championships Melissa Tapper Jian Fang Lay David Powell Kane Townsend Solenn Danger Natalie Paterson Mathew Ball

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