Why Fan Zhendong lost to Harimoto Tomokazu?

Why Fan Zhendong lost to Harimoto Tomokazu?

Harimoto Tomokazu (張本) has won Fan Zhendong (樊振東) in the Asian Cup 2018. It’s such a great performance!

People talk about the performance of Harimoto Tomokazu. He has won the world ranking #1 Fan Zhendong in the group stage of ATTU Asian Cup 2018.

Winning the top Chinese player is the dream of any table tennis player. And winning Fan Zhendong, the Monster, is not easy! Today, I explain the possible reason why this could happen. Not to disrespect the performance of Harimoto. But to reveal the possible “tactical” of China Team.

ATTU Asian Cup 2018

But first of all, what is ATTU Asian Cup? It’s the tournament hosted by ITTF and ATTU (Asian Table Tennis Union). ATTU Asian Cup Yokohama 2018 is hosted in Yokohama, Japan. Two events are organized: Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles.

Player’s entries:

The holder of 2017 Asian Cup, Singles Champion of 2017 Asian Championships, top 10 players from the January 2018 ITTF Ranking List, four Regional Representatives, one each from South Asia, South East Asia, West Asia and Middle Asia. There shall be a maximum of 2 players from an Association unless a third player is invited as a “wild card”.

Top seeds:

Two Chinese players: Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan are seeded as n1 and n2. Harimoto is seeded n6.

top seed of Asian Cup 2018
the top seed of Asian Cup 2018

Top seed: Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, Wong Chun Ting, Lee Sangsu. Seed #1 is on the upper branch of the bracket. Seed #2 is on the lower branch. They will meet in the final if no upset happens.

Total prizes:

total prize of the ITTF competition
the total prize of the ITTF competition

Total prize is only 50 thousand dollars. First prize for the Champion is 14 thousand dollars. The prize is much lower compared to another sport like Tennis. I hope that ITTF could increase the prize for the players.

Fan Zhendong versus Harimoto Tomokazu

The last time, they meet at the World Team Cup in London 1 month ago. And Fan Zhendong has won 3-0 over Harimoto Tomokazu.

Fan Zhendong vs Harimoto Tomokazu 2018
Fan Zhendong vs Harimoto Tomokazu 2018

This is the match in the group stage (group A). The winner of this match will be number 1 of the stage and will play on the upper branch of the tournament.

Full match Fan Zhendong vs Harimoto Tomokazu 2018

https://youtu.be/W4J5vRCOo7s

At the same time, 15:00 h, on another table, Lin Gaoyuan was playing with LEE Sangsu. It seems that Lin Gaoyuan was struggling with LEE Sangsu. He was leading 0-2 (8-11,
and 5-11). While Fan Zhendong and Harimoto is at 1-1 (11-8, and 8-11).

Lin Gaoyuan was struggeling with LEE Sangsu at the next table
Lin Gaoyuan was struggling with LEE Sangsu at the next table

The lose “on purpose” of China Team

Personally, I believe that Chinese coach has quickly decided to “Switch branch” for both players. Fan Zhendong will play in lower branch, and Lin Gaoyuan will move to the upper branch. Let’s me explain it now!

Look at here, LEE Sang Su is number 1 in group B. Lin Gaoyuan is at position 2.

Group stage of the event
Group stage of the event

In group A, Harimoto and Fan Zhendong will take position 1, and 2.

I think that XiaoPang (nickname of Fan Zhendong) lost to Harimoto on purpose.  Because if he wins Harimoto, he is on the same branch of Lin Gaoyuan, and meet him at the semi-final.

But the Chinese staff doesn’t want that.

They want a Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan will meet at the final game. So China has gold and silver medals.

main draw bracket, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan switched bracket to avoid meeting in the Semi-Final
main draw bracket, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan switched bracket to avoid meeting in the Semi-Final

Two medals (gold, and silver) is much better than (gold and bronze)

Many players have also recognized this! It’s like a “tactical loss” to get the medals of China Team. By losing the match, now Fan Zhendong plays in the lower bracket, and avoid meeting Lin Gaoyuan too early.

And this is the final standing! China dominates the podium. For both men and women singles.

final standing of Asian Cup Table Tennis
final standing of Asian Cup Table Tennis

If you don’t trust me! Let’s feel his power and determination in the final game with Lin Gaoyuan. Fan Zhendong is one step higher than Lin Gaoyuan. They are both Chinese National Team, but not in the same league.

Final game Fan Zhendong vs Lin Gaoyuan 2018

At the end, you will find the full match/short form between Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan.

 

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