The Round of 32 of the Men’s Singles draw at the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships just finished. Three of the players had something in common: being defenders. Panagiotis Gionis from Greece, Yuto Muramatsu from Japan and Ruwen Filus from Germany.
Only the German managed to qualify for the next round, keeping alive the defenders dream that Joo SaeHyuk made real (or almost) when he reached the Men’s Singles Final at the 2003 WTTC. Ruwen Filus will face Fan Zhendong in the Round of 16, which seems a hard challenge for him. If he managed to beat the current World’s number 2, the hero title might not be enough for the TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell player.
In this article we will do a quick review of his match against NG Pak Nam at the Round of 32. As usual, we will highlight the aspects of the game that influenced the final result and some interesting stats and insights.
The 19 year-old player from Hong-Kong, Ng Pak Nam, was a totally unexpected invitee at the latest rounds of the main draw. Being the World’s 185 does not make it easy for anybody to progress in the competition. In fact, in order to get to this round, he defeated Tiago Apolonia and Chen Weixing, apart from some others in the Qualification Rounds.
Therefore, what would be an easy match in normal conditions for Filus, currently at the 32nd position of the World Ranking, could have become a bit of a trouble. Nonetheless, the result confirmed the German superiority: 1-4 (6-11, 11-8, 5-11 2-11, 5-11) for Filus. All in all, Ng Pak Nam could barely score enough points – he got 12 – to make for one set in the last three altogether.
It was only in the second set that the young player from Hong-Kong was competitive enough, while in the others he made too many mistakes. No chance at all against an experienced defender in front of such a cheering crowd.
You can watch the full match at the official ITTF streaming channel linked below:
Let’s see some stats about the match:
It is obvious that the defensive skills of Filus made Ng Pak Nam struggle. With a similar amount of winners, the mistakes difference is notable: 32 more mistakes at the Hong-Kong side of the table.
If we classify winners and mistakes by kind of shot, we have:
Most of Ruwen’s mistakes were made when attacking with his forehand topspin and chopping with the backhand. Something totally expected though, as those two shots are the basis of his playing style. Regarding the winners, Filus surprised Ng Pak Nam three times with quick and well-placed backhand topspins. Three other forehand topspin shots made for the total of six winners.
It is interesting that there is no mistake or winner with forehand chops or flicks, as none of them are part of Filus’ common shots. One example of the opposite can be read in our previous article about Muramatsu’s match against Xu Xin.
Let’s see now Ng Pak Nam’s numbers:
Most of his of mistakes come from the forehand topspin. Usually, after strong underspin pushes and chops by Filus. However, one fact that is not depicted in the previous graph severely affected the player from Hong-Kong: he failed to return Filus’ serve 11 times. Considering that Filus is a defensive player, and that he does not usually seek for third ball winners, taking that risk when returning the serve was probably his major fail during the match.
A fun weekend
It is already Saturday in Düsseldorf and the first finals are coming. With some big names already out of the Singles competition, like Jun Mizutani or Zhang Jike, there is hope for Germany to achieve medals. Nevertheless, there is one assured at the Mixed Doubles competition, as Petrissa Solja and Fang Bo are in the Semi-Finals stage.
The events to take place today are:
- Mixed Doubles: Semi-Finals and Final
- Men’s Singles: Round of 16
- Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals
- Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals
As usual, you can keep tuned with the action on the two remaining tables today at:
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* Cover photo: Holger
* Video cover photo: ITTF