2013 China Trials Stage 3: Ma Long – Yan An (Full) [Subtitled]

Let’s look at today’s first match between junior player Yan An and Number One ranked Ma Long There are about 6000 spectators here with us The atmosphere will get anyone upbeat and passionate -Yes Gets one all excited For Zhang Jike and Wang Hao to put up such an exciting match yesterday The atmosphere had a lot to do with it -Yes So many spectators watching, along with the media, CNTV To an athlete, it’ll only stimulate him and make him more motivated Let’s look at the first game Oh, beautiful! I think the most important match for this Stage is the first match What do you say that? Ma Lin, in this group, has the biggest difficulty of emerging tops Among the three, Ma Lin seems the least likely. -Yes These two pose as huge obstacles to him But Ma Lin is such an opportunistic player Once he’s given even a slight chance, he’ll pull off a miracle So we’ll have to see if a player like Ma Lin, in critical moments Ma Lin has a much richer arsenal of tactics and strategies than either of them I’d like Liu Guoliang to run us through the specialties of Ma Long and Yan An They both seem to be the light-footed sort with very fast stroke linkages Yes they’re technically very similar Ma Lin as well, three of them are similar First, they’re meticulous with a great touch Secondly, they’re quick and intelligent Whoever has a more comprehensive package will prevail During the Qatar Open finals, Ma Long defeated Yan An 4-3 Let’s see how they’ll do today Both of them came from Beijing Team So they got to train and compete with each other very often They’re very familiar with the play of each other On the National Team, Ma Long showed no advantage over Yan An So as Guoliang mentioned, Ma Long has to grasp the game’s opening, or even the first two games Especially for a young player in such a major competition Yes. Along with Ma Lin, the three of them have the ability to get into gear fast in the game opening But no matter how fast they get into form, one of them is bound to gain advantage the fastest We can see both of them displaying their competitive streak in the game opening Great shot I think they’re similar in how they persist in staying close to the table Not the sort who’ll go mid or far distance, exerting great power or with big movements Instead they’re light-footed, speedy and have variety in their play, Good shot I find it odd that Ma Long can set himself in motion the quickest He has been attacking relentlessly, from the first to the last point Ma Long is like a sprinter, he gets off to a fast start A lot of players have experienced falling behind in the game opening with him He is so precise with his attacks the minute he gets on Ma Long’s preparatory work. Before the match, he actually had all these shots planned out in his head All within his grasp -Yes When he gets into a tangle later on, you’ll see him getting less inspired with his shots Zhang Jike is the complete opposite, when he gets on he can’t get it out yet But he gets more motivated as the match progresses Ma Long has improved in his matches with Yan An recently When they competed during training they were [inaudible]

In the past year, Ma Long has become a lot more solid His scored slightly more victories over Yan An But Yan An is not afraid of his play Good shot Yan An has skill to model after His backhand is strong. His precise down-the-line backhand shots often leave his opponents in disarray His backhand shots are so fast, his backhand stroke is compact too -Yes Particularly his down-the-line backhand shots. That’s why Xu Xin has a hard time against him Adding pressure on his backhand, down-the-line Good shot That was a crucial point Now they’ve evened up Yan An was lagging 4-8, he got back 4 points Both Yan An and Ma Long got down to business really quickly -Yes After keeping it in for 2 days, I feel that this is the climax That was a chance ball for Yan An Ma Long’s rhythm in looping that shot was good But it went a little high and long But I feel Yan An is privileged. His father is a coach Coach in Beijing Team It’s said he has to call his dad after training everyday And his dad would review his performance Perhaps his dad would be able to get through to him easier than the coach His dad happens to be a very intelligent coach Very good at using his brain They’ve reached 9-9 I want to see if they’ll handle these two points well From a coach’s perspective, I want to see if these young players will handle the points in a reasonable manner See if they’ll have a clever approach to them -Good shot Yan An anticipated that shot Ma Long, before he got to 9-9, he served long as an ambush But you could see Yan An side-stepped I predict Ma Long will serve short to the middle now Still a long serve -Good shot I thought it’s strange for Ma Long to lose that forehand shot I think Ma Long’s last two serves were flawed His sudden long serve at 9-9 was well within Yan An’s anticipation The second sudden long serve, Yan An might have thought he’d have served short to his forehand But Yan An still managed to side-step, meaning it’s still within his comfort zone This means that after leading 8-4, Ma Long didn’t have much scoring tactics thereafter It might have looked like Ma Long was going for risk shots, but in fact those were desperation moves I remember at 12-11, Zhang Jike served a sudden long to Wang Hao Wang Hao was taken by surprise and he jumped backwards That’s what I call good handling of a critical point You basically have to plan your moves right Before you can make such a risky shot -That’s why we can see they’re both from Beijing Team Such sudden ‘ambush’ ought to carry some effectiveness But Yan An remained composed and handled the sudden long serve well And thus he took the game 11-9 So there had been a big change. Yan An grappled the game from Ma Long from 4-8 Let’s continue with the 2nd game This game is going to be tough for Ma Long Losing the first game after a 8-4 lead might be tough for a young player Yan An’s over the table forehand flick went long I think he went overboard with that one Too much force contact. He should have made more friction contact and give it a safe trajectory If Yan An kept things simple it’ll make things difficult for Ma Long

Yan An’s backhand is obviously stronger than Ma Long’s Ma Long’s specialty is his forehand The frequency he uses his forehand and counter-loops is higher than Yan An But Ma Long has no chance to execute his forehand! Yan An’s backhand is so strong! Yan An is preventing his forehand with fast returns Yan An is initiating the change of directions and forcing errors out of Ma Long Ma Long is unable to take the initiative Yan An is so fast, Ma Long is unable to guess his intentions in time Let’s see if Ma Long can find a breakthrough after losing the first game I think Yan An, after going through such a major tournament Unlike Fan Zhendong, Yan An does not look uneasy How he executes his shots During training, Yan An lost twice to Fan Zhendong The little boy, Fan Zhendong plays significantly differently in a external setting After Yan An has experienced the likes of Super League and National Open Including the Qatar Open a week ago They have all helped him gain valuable experience -Yes Yan An is leading now, in terms of game score and match points As long as Yan An does not make any mistake, Ma Long won’t be able to do much Ma Long is helpless against him now. Long serves, short serves Yan An is not showing any openings in his play Ma Long can only count on his experience and variety to mess up Yan An Yes. Here comes his chance! Oh dear. Yan An counter-looped from far distance I think Ma Long is facing his biggest opponent yet He doesn’t seem to have such a hard time against others, like Ma Lin -Yes Ma Long has only average shot quality Once the opponent catches on that See, Ma Long is feeling lost now. He doesn’t know how to score anymore I can tell that, he’s not playing as well as he did in the game opening, placements and all He’s just making changes blindly, right from 9-9 His opponent got all his shot directions covered Great shot! Come again, Yan An! He could only brave what’s coming -It was very well played Once such a young player wins the first game, he’ll be more fired up Ma Long has to use some unusual tactics now And take successful risks, in order to subdue Yan An After going through 3 tournaments, Yan An has the sensibility to slow his pace down He takes a long pause after executing a good or poor point That’s the manifestation of experience gained See how he’s regulating his breathing, As long as Yan An doesn’t mess up, Ma Long won’t be able to catch up If you were side coaching Ma Long against such a strong opponent, perhaps in a very major tournament How would you advise him, what adjustments does he have to make? So that there’s still hope? -I think he can’t go at it without any objectives Look at him now! Undecided, long shot this moment, short one the next He should get control of his objectives before executing any change He has no objectives now. He’ll only get worse in his play I think Ma Long has to make a huge adjustment and start all over There isn’t anything in his shots to score anymore 11-4 Yan An has taken the 2nd game from world’s top ranked player, Ma Long Obviously Ma Long has to find a way out

For Ma Long to come to this We knew he had it tough right from the first game After 8-4, he started losing because the situation didn’t turn out as he planned If I were side coaching Ma Long, I’d suggest him to serve with his backhand, or with a high toss Try the simplest, unfamiliar serves, as a form of variation What you’re not familiar with, your opponent won’t understand it either Your opponent will return them in a simpler manner too Either breakthrough in every aspect, or return every shot to the short forehand position Or return it to the deep center, turning it into a backhand-to-backhand battle And find the opportunity to turn it into a forehand rally He is keeping to the left side of his court too much How can he compete with his backhand, when Yan An’s backhand is faster and more powerful If he forced himself to side step, he’ll still be in a passive situation He can only rely on his variations on the court But he has to first secure his foothold. He can’t win on variation alone Yes. Let’s look at Game 3 He has to be patient too. Wait for Yan An to make an error He tends to make errors when he’s leading, judging from previous games Ma Long attacked, but into Yan An’s forehand Yan An has got his placement covered That’s because Ma Long is playing his usual placements too much From that point, we can see Yan An is too anxious to win An obvious exertion of power He’s too excited now. Can’t keep it in! -Yes too excited! Deep inside he can’t wait to get ahead So at this point, Ma Long stands a chance After the first game, there won’t be much of a change in Yan An’s play But come 3rd game, once circumstances change he’ll start to make changes too, with new thoughts That was a crucial point. Yan An with his backhand counter-topspin with added power The player with the biggest effect on this Group has got to be Ma Long Hey who do you think Ma Lin wishes to win here? -Ma Lin? Ma Lin would wish both of them to lose of course! So he’ll emerge victorious himself! I think Ma Lin would prefer Yan An to win in this Group Ma Lin probably has a 2 point advantage over Yan An Yan An? Wish for Yan An to win? I think Ma Lin has thought this through more than you have Ma Lin would rather Ma Long to win -Why? Why? – First, he needs to defeat whoever wins here If Ma Long was eliminated, based on their World Rankings Ma Lin and Wang Hao would be top seeded If Ma Long was seeded before him, he needn’t face him early on He’d wish for his toughest opponents to be eliminated Leaving only the kids and the older players Only when the fight is close will Ma Lin’s advantage be obvious Ma Long was his toughest opponent in Stage 2 Yan An is easier to dupe Ma Long has after all participated in so many international tournaments So I think Ma Lin is not just thinking about the step in front of him He thinks about what is to come after that too -The later matches So table tennis players tend to contemplate more Ma Long has increased the quality of his first 3 balls He made a low and very spinny return He wasn’t even ready for the counter-loop Yan An’s previous two loops were very low. Particularly the first Ma Long has a chance with the second loop. The first was too low

It means Ma Long’s push was lacking in quality He must serve tricky now Ma Long is only adding variation to his serves at this point. After he trails 0-2 When Wang Hao played Zhang Jike yesterday, even near the end they didn’t make a change, like changing to serve from the forehand position Very often, this does not occur to the players on the court They need the coach to remind them Even before the match, they already have to determine what kind of situation calls for a change Should I change because of the points? Or should I change because I feel uneasy? After the variation do I revert to what I was doing? Oh the intricacies! To put it simply, it’s about deception Play what you can’t like you could, and play what you can like you couldn’t And you’ll confuse your opponent That was a good chance. Yan An side stepped to attack But it was unsuccessful Let’s see if Ma Long could capitalize on Yan An’s error It’s 8-6 now. If Yan An succeeded there to make it 7-7, it’ll be more dangerous for Ma Long Yan An has the upper hand now. So he can relax a little Even if he lost this game, he’d still lead 2-1, so he needn’t put so much pressure on himself Folks, we’re now at Zhenjiang city of Jiangsu We’re bringing to you live the final stage of the Trials It’s the third day of the Trials We’ve been broadcasting the men’s singles matches for the past 5 days We will see the third player today who will get the ticket to participate in WTTC That was Ma Long’s specialty How Ma Long managed to counter-loop that depended on his push earlier He pushed into Yan An’s extremity pocket It’s very difficult to return that push with a tricky loop The return placement was well within expectations of Ma Long too In this third game, Ma Long is making more errors with his forehand -Yes Ma Long is still leading 9-8, but he’s still trailing behind in match points, 0-2 This game, Yan An can’t decide what to play He’s hasty with his strokes, but he’s also hesitating in making his moves He should either let everything go and fight it out, or he should keep things conservative and wait for an opportunity Look at Ma Long’s swagger now He must be relieved after the win Actually Ma Long made a lot of errors in this game But he still managed to win the game I think it was because Yan An didn’t play as smoothly as he did in the first 2 games And you can see that Ma Long has deliberately slowed things down considerably Judging from his tempo in the game, how fast he walks, how he retrieves the balls, his manner He looks a little down. So much so that Yan An doesn’t even have the heart to shout anymore And his tactics seems to be rather disorganized So this game was critical to Yan An 2-1. By now they ought to have figured out what changes there are in their opponent The fourth game is a deciding game But if the match were to go into the fifth game, Yan An would lose the confidence he had when he was leading Let’s see if Yan An is able to unleash (his abilities) in this game I’m guessing that once Yan An comes on, he’ll start to initiate attacks He can’t wait anymore. If he continues to hold out, he won’t be able to later on That was a forced side step

The government of Zhenjiang city is highly supportive of this Trials This is their biggest tournament ever. Of course they’ve hosted the Nationals before The spectator seats are all filled up The seating capacity here is about 6000 The spectators arrived well before the commencement time too They contributed to the good atmosphere for our athletes I heard the tickets cost 580RMB a piece And there was no bulk purchase. Everyone bought their own tickets You can tell from the way they dressed if they came as an organization The spectators came on their own accord. This is something we need very much I think it would be great if we could achieve such spectator attendance for table tennis all the time Come again, Ma Long! Yan An adds more power! Attack his backhand! I can see that Yan An is mentally strong You can’t say that now -We need to see him in a major tournament? Yes You can’t tell from this match alone. We don’t know the outcome of this match yet Yan An led 2-0, and it’s now 2-1 We can only tell at the end After losing to such a strong opponent for two games, it leaves to seen if he’ll be able to re-activate himself Looks like Guoliang has very high expectations of Yan An Yan An side stepped a lot more in this game This is a significant indicator of his change in tactics. The increase in side steps The indicator for Ma Long is how he switches to using his forehand When Yan An side stepped, his placements tend to be fixed Making such shots is very taxing in a match Attacking, with the forehand, what seems like a chance ball Yan An’s counter-attack looks high, but it still came rather short That’s why Ma Long was hesitant. It wasn’t easy to loop that return Especially since he wanted to loop into the center of the court That went too long. Ma Long counters successfully The next two points are critical Yan An will have to take a shot at the next point So that it’ll be easier for him Take him on with his backhand Reverse pendulum serve, loops it up and Yan An counter-loops Yan An found it hard to counter-loop that Ma Long, from the third game onwards, started to loop sidespin If he made changes earlier on, he wouldn’t be in such a passive position now Nonetheless, it’s still effective now, That was Yan An’s specialty, a backhand punch down-the-line -Yes What if Ma Long looped into Yan An’s forehand? It would have been risky too. It would have been better to loop into the center The center placement is the hardest to defend against Yan An leads 6-5 Yan An was too hasty in handling that shot He handled the previous point well. How he pushed it, Ma Long looped it back and he backhand punched If he pushed it again, Ma Long would have looped down-the-line or to his center. He wouldn’t try cross-court again This kind of unforced error with his push, makes a huge difference between 7-5 and 6-6 Young players like him must be experiencing increased tension now Look

Spectators might not be able to tell, but from how he pushed and backhand flicked Based on his instantaneous contact, his stroke was incomplete He kept thinking of recovery. He didn’t complete his stroke before recovering They’ve evened up again. 7-7 It’s apparent Ma Long is drawing on his experience now To get Yan An to make an error. To find an opportunity to attack In terms of skills, Ma Long has no advantage Still no advantage eh? Including his quality of shots. No advantage there either 7-7. Low toss serve. Return drop shot Yan An wanted to.. But he retreated.. Cos Ma Long played some drop shots earlier so he’s more prepared for that now Qin Zhijian, Ma Long’s coach, has called for a time-out Some officials from the Zhenjiang Municipial has come to view the match Table tennis is popular in Zhenjiang. A lot of their government officials play table tennis too -Yes They boast of having won certain championships before! Exercise is important for all After a hard day’s work, it feels good to play some table tennis Perspire a little, helps with the metabolism and improves work performance the following day We’ve come to the most crucial moment of the match After Ma Long’s time-out, both of them have to grit their teeth and give all they’ve got Loop that! Ma Long with his second shot! You can’t go soft in this crucial game now If Yan An wants to win this, he has to grit his teeth and fight on If he doesn’t persevere now, he’ll be affected psychologically if it goes to the fifth game Right now, the pressure is still on Ma Long, who’s lagging behind 1-2 So Yan An ought to make use of his lead to add pressure on Ma Long Yan An looped with a lot of insurance there. Low in quality. He must really wanted Ma Long to counter-loop and make a mistake The placement was poor If only it went slightly more parallel to the table Another 5cm more, Ma Long might not have succeeded Still initiating with the backhand That was a great shot. He should have done that long ago It was obvious he made a forced side step in the first shot Ma Long must have observed that When both parties are going for all-out attacks, the opportunities present themselves very quickly When Ma Long lagged 7-8 and Coach Qin called for a time-out The timing was crucial There’s another one -Good shot After the time-out, there is an obvious change in Ma Long His forehand counter-loops, his backhand counter-topspins which changed paths of the shots From how he built up from the first three balls They were done very decisively, very clean Another factor must be the camaraderie between Coach Qin and Ma Long, after Coach Qin has led him for so long That’s why Ma Long is able to execute whatever Coach Qin has intended for him -Yes We’ll have to look at what Coach Xiao Zhan has to offer to Yan An. See if he’ll be able to persist on I believe Coach Xiao Zhan to be a proactive Coach At 2-0, he must have reminded Yan An not to play conservatively, but also not rush into things

Sometimes players aren’t in total control of their emotions, especially young players I believe both Coaches will come up with very reasonable strategies They know their players well, so it all boils down to how well the players can execute their plans Yes. And now they’re both back at 0-0, at the deciding game This time they’re both out for blood Ma Long didn’t shout during the third and fourth game He needs to present himself aggressively now more than ever Look at Zhang Jike yesterday. He was so fired up right from the first game If only Yan An could backhand-loop that shot, he would have gained the advantage That’s why Ma Long kept serving to Yan An’s forehand Look, he’s serving into trickier positions Chance ball -Yes that’s a chance ball That called for a certain technique He shouldn’t have attacked with all his might, just give it enough to get it in Ma Lin executes that best Ma Long thrust himself forward When one is moving forward, there should be a small step to balance oneself There should be a momentary adjustment in the wrist It’s still a heated battle Their pace is too slow now Two drop shots. Led to a high ball Do you think he shouldn’t have drop-shot? Maybe he should have returned it long? It depends on whether he’s in a active or passive position If he was in a passive position, I normally wouldn’t recommend a short return When Ma Long dropped-shot, Yan An was faster than him and returned it faster than he could It’ll only make things tougher for him Yan An’s tactic was clear — trying to initiate attack with the backhand flick Turn backspin into topspin, making it difficult for Ma Long By going into a backhand rally If you kept serving backspin and the return is to your short forehand position, you can’t attack There are still flaws in Ma Long’s backhand attacks They’re exchanging sides now. Yan An leads 5-2 That was a terrific variation. He kept serving reverse pendulum, he kept getting sidespin returns Even if it’s just a small variation, as long as it’s beyond your opponent’s expectations The effect would have been good enough Yan An must have been preparing to block a long return, so he wasn’t in time to loop it So his forehand return went high -Yes Oh there’s another! Both of them are very tense Yan An must be thinking, Ma Lin has difficulty beating Ma Long So he’s trying to eliminate Ma Long Ma Long would have an easy time with Ma Lin -Yes If Yan An wins, Ma Lin is out. So he tries to win this one first So I say this is the most intense match Both of them are indeed showcasing very high standards of play The feeling they give me is rather [inaudible]

Yan An led 2-0 and threw away two games But I think Yan An’s performance has been okay It’s not like he played conservatively Yes, but, it wasn’t cleanly executed His tactics and how he handled shots weren’t firm enough After Coach Qin’s time-out, he must have told Ma Long to be resolute. That’s all he could do I’m sure Coach Xiao must have reminded Yan An to carry out his tactics firmly in the critical moment. That would have been my advice Especially for a young athlete like Yan An When he comes to a point where he can deliver both long and short returns Coach Xiao would have chosen one for him A choice that would be more effective Ma Long is trying hard to initiate attack They’re at 6-6 again When Yan An led 6-4, he dared not risk the next two points He should have gambled with one point He should have attacked in one of the points. He defended for both points Yes he should have tried That was very well played It seems like the pupil has surpassed the master Yan An must be around 20 years old? Yes he’s about 20 -Right about 20 Ma Long should be the top of his league now But Yan An has reached his level of play This match has been meaningful to Yan An Especially when he has been going into the final game with Ma Long so frequently His handling of the shots now… -Side step Yan An had the upper hand. He shouldn’t have side stepped and stuck to his backhand But he forced a side step and Ma Long directed into his forehand into a counter-loop rally. It’s not favorable to Yan An Their playing styles are indeed very similar It’d be difficult for me to choose between the two Long shot! -That was a good return Turning his active position into a passive position Xiao Zhan is still very enthusiastic. Cheering Yan An on. Actually Ma Long had the absolute advantage for that point He took a risk and returned it wide. If he returned it to the center, Ma Long would have won that point This point, created a turn of circumstances for Yan An Yan An can still apply pressure on Ma Long, and take a shot Loop it up with the backhand. Now hold it down! Fate is in his hands now It should not matter to him f he wins or loses this point. No big deal If he continued to compete with tempo, variation or experience, he’ll definitely lose out to Ma Long Keep things simple. Serve. Loop Don’t go soft now with the backhand Both of them are very determined now -Yes After 2 years of competition in major tournaments, Ma Long has a tremendous improvement psychologically He was in such a passive position. But we still can’t determine the winner yet I feel that his fighting spirit is much better than before Look at how enthusiastic Xiao Zhan is! He’s very engrossed in it. He can feel the pressure on Yan An now

Against the world’s number one, you cannot let your guard down even for a second. Every shot you make must be reasonable No doubt. Even the side coaches are feeling it Yes Coach Xiao is in a way telling his player to fight, fight, fight And not to hold yourself back 8-10 -Take a gamble with one point It’s easy to err when you serve long to the forehand at a time like this I can’t figure out where Ma Long is serving next! -Yes Ma Long is indeed full of variations That must have been the riskiest shot! Let’s see if he’ll dare serve deep into the backhand, or to the extremity That was careless of him He gave Yan An such a huge chance -Too big a chance Ma Long served so badly. Low in quality and it went long Was Yan An’s racket angle too closed? Yan An didn’t brush enough. And he was late in making that shot He should have looped down-the-line. -Yes that would have been fine Ma Long caught up to 10-10 from 8-10 That backhand was too aggresive The best chance ball was the one at 10-9 Let’s see if Ma Long would give Yan An any more chance This victory didn’t come easy for Ma Long This match provided us with the most competitive table tennis play ever Yan An was so affected he forgot to shake hands with Coach Qin. Coach Xiao had to remind him to This was an expensive learning experience for Yan An So many errors in a row. That’s why I said you were too quick to compliment him on his mental tenacity He just had to make a small error. An athlete should grasp this kind of opportunity tightly Particularly against a player like Ma Long, who goes into a frenzy at the sight of blood. You have to protect yourself well That was a really big chance for Yan An For a young, 20 year old player, who’s never been in very big tournaments to perform like he did, against a Number One I think Yan An is still successful in that aspect We need to encourage Yan An! Of course, Head Coach Liu Guoliang has higher expectations of young players To become the strongest, most capable male member of the Chinese National Team We’ll take a break now