Zhang Jike, Ma Long & Xu Xin Jacking Up In The Closed Training

Zhang Jike, Ma Long & Xu Xin Jacking Up In The Closed Training
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In preparation for the upcoming 2014 World Team Championships, the Chinese Team has conducted special squad matches that will further enhance the technical skills of their players, especially their main powers Zhang Jike, Xu Xin and Ma Long. The matches were special as they were not allowed to pull of certain techniques. Result, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong won while Zhang Jike and Ma Long lost. 

Sohu Sports. The Chinese Team are currently in their Squad Trials, aiming to further strengthen their players for the World Team Championships. Yesterday, the coaching staff conducted a special squad match. 

We are roughly one month away before the biggest table tennis event this year: the 2014 World Team Championships to be held in the Japanese capital Tokyo. As one of their many preparations for this competition, the Chinese Team is already approaching to the half-way mark in their Closed Training. 

Yesterday afternoon, March 26, the coaching staff of the men's team carried out a special squad match. 

The first match was between the 2014 Asian Cup runner-up Fan Zhendong and rookie Xu Chenhao. Both  are promising young players of the Chinese Team with Xu Chenhao finishing as the runner-up in the 2013 Japan Open. In their match, Fan Zhendong showed his strength as he nailed a 3-0

The second match showed Xu Xin displaying a good condition. Against Zhou Yu, Xu Xin won in 3-1. Ma Long was in the third match and faced Liang Jingkun who has defeated both Zhang Jike and Ma Long in their previous encounters. Coming from an epic victory in the 2014 Asian Cup last weekend, Ma Long lost in 1-3

Zhang Jike faced Liu Jikang in yesterday's special squad match. The opening set went to the rookie Liu Jikang scoring 11-6. Subsequently, Liu Guoliang entered into the arena and coached Zhang Jike. The Grand Slam champion then asked for permission to replace his racket. However, the change of equipment did not do any good as he continues to struggle. Zhang Jike lost in 1-3

Zhang Jike was reported to have been injured recently and that could have played its role in the match. 

Why was the squad matches special? Because the selection of players and rules were decided by the coaching staff to make it even harder for their main players. To increase resilience and enrich their technical skills, Zhang Jike and Xu Xin were banned from using the banana stroke or the chiquita while Ma Long was prohibited from using a drop-shot reception in their respective matches.  

Photo source: China News 

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