by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Now very much a first team selection and memorably the third round winner earlier in the year over China’s redoubtable Ma Long at the Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships in Wuxi, he would surely bulldoze his way through the defences of Wang Yang; conversely, not quite so powerful, would Kim Donghyun have the power to drill the wall erected by Panagiotis Gionis of Greece?
The answers were unequivocal, Jeoung Sangeun lost to Wang Yang (11-3, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6). Kim Donghyun read the plot to perfection; he beat Panagiotis Gionis (8-11, 11-9, 18-16, 11-8, 11-5).
Powerful but Jeong Sangeun never settled against Wang Yang, the defence was firm from the Slovakian, the forehand top spin was unerring, maintained the pressure, causing the Korean to make errors. There was just one moment when it appeared that Jeong Sangeun may mount a recovery, in the fifth game Wang Yang led 8-4, he lost the next three points as for one of the few times in the contest, Jeong Sangeun played error free.
Wang Yang elected for “Time Out”, it proved a prudent move.
“Very good, I played really well; I didn’t miss a forehand top spin. He is very powerful, if I had just defended all the time I would have lost, it was essential that used my forehand top spin the break his rhythm. From 8-4 to 8-7 in the fifth game he just did not miss, I needed the pause and stop the progress.” Wang Yang
Great credit to Wang Yang but surely Korean players should be very adept against defence; has there been a better defensive player this century than Joo Saehyuk?
However, they say all defenders are different; perhaps not a theory with which Kim Donghyun agrees?
“Playing against Panagiotis was just like playing against Joo Saehyuk; long pimples on the backhand just the same. I am so used to playing against that style; I feel very comfortable against backspin play. You need to take care when the defender attacks but I was able to block his top spin play and counter attack.”
A lesson from Kim Donghyun on how to play against defence; better teach Jeong Sangeun!