Table tennis players refuse to attack, results in the longest table tennis rally ever

May Chen
The Straits Times
24 Feb 2017

SINGAPORE - Two women paddlers hit an incredible 766-shot rally in the first round of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Qatar Open on Thursday night, making it the longest rally in modern table tennis.

With Dutch veteran Li Jie serving to Japan's Hitomi Sato in the third game of their women's singles match, the paddlers - both are defensive specialists - chose to stick to their chopping styles instead of attacking.

The point lasted 10 minutes and 13 seconds before it was interrupted.

Neither won this rally - a ball bouncing into the area the pair were playing in led to a let - and both players were called to replay the point. Li Jie won the replay in just a couple of shots.

The expedite system was introduced for the rest of the match. It meant each player took turns to serve a point, with the receiving player earning the point after 13 shots. This rule encourages players to attack in order to win the point.

Li also eventually won the match - which went to the decisive rubber - 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9. She next plays Singapore's world No. 4 Feng Tianwei in the round of 16.

The Straits Times

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