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Vladimir Samsonov won the Aussie Open 2017 and became the first player to win an ITTF tournament in every continent. Maybe if they gave a huge monetary reward for any player to be an 'All Continent Champion' will the best professional players come down under and play our championships.

I think the final was a letdown, unfortunately. Simon Gauzy didn't give Samsonov much resistance in his inexorable march to the presentation ceremony for his 'coveted' boomerang trophy, a cringe-worthy moment.

Once Mizutani lost, the event surrendered a bit of its luster. I'm not sure how Mizutani lost to Korea's Cho Seungmin until I watch the video.

The event was a little eye-opener to the standard of difference between players. Like I predicted, Australia was fortunate to have one player qualify into the round of 32, but Powell promptly lost 0-4 to Singapore's 32 year old Gao Ning. The poor standard of the rest of the Aussies was a sad sight to behold, not many players could rally more than 3 or 4 points. There were serving mistakes, lack of physical conditioning, outrageous misses of easy balls or air balls of serve returns, inability to carry out quick close-to-the table rallies, backhand weaknesses and just a reflection that our players don't have the hard conditioning of constant high pressure competition.

At the pro level, Samsonov showed us he's still quick enough and relentless in his returns to be competitive against the world's best except for China's top 5 or 6. His style of quickly taking a step back during rallies is enough to test opponents' consistency. Samsonov simply picks off any non-powerful shots but his best shot is his strong block off the opponent's smashes and supposedly winning drives and loops. Those shots left Gauzy flat footed and astounded how a 41 year old, going onto his fifth decade, had the skill of turning his strong attacks into clear lost points.





  Gao Ning defeated Australia's David Powell

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