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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 08:40 
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Hi all,

Had an interesting match tonight. All three players on my team lost against a guy who used a fairly thin-sponged 729fx and had an unbelievably spinny topspin serve.

That's not unheard of for me - my serve receive still isn't the best in the world - but the two other guys have been playing for over 70 years combined and I've never seen them struggle with serves before.

It was partially because his motion was really hard to read, but mostly just because every time he topspinned a serve to our inverted rubbers we could barely keep the ball on the table. I ended up simply turning my bat to face the table, closed rather than open, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't!

So, after a vastly long-winded introduction, my question is simple: how do you attack long, fast, really heavy topspin serves?

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 09:01 
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A well placed block would be easiest I think. These types of serves can kicks on the table sometimes, so you've got to watch them carefully.

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 09:11 
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By block, do you mean the kind block where I effectively do a small counter-hit? Like six inches of swing at the top of the bounce?

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 09:17 
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With inverted I usually do what most players do, try to counter incoming spin, so if it is a straight topspin i will try to block or loop/drive it back. If the spin is more than I can handle, I try two other approaches:
- Stand back and chop. The spin fades a little as the ball travels through the air, and you continue that spin so it affects the speed and direction of your return less than when you counter the spin.
- Angle your bat and do a "sideways loop". Your bat touches the ball near the axis of rotation, so you won't feel as much of the spin.

If there is a sidespin component (like you get with a tomahawk serve), I also try to counter it first. If that doesn't work, usually I can counter the topspin and continue the sidespin (i.e. reverse the sideways direction of the stroke, compared to what you'd do for a straight counter).

Did that make any sense? :?:

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 09:20 
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dunc wrote:
By block, do you mean the kind block where I effectively do a small counter-hit? Like six inches of swing at the top of the bounce?

Not quite... take the ball early with a fairly closed bat, with some forward movement depending on how aggressive you want to return it. Taking it early with little swing reduces the chance of missing due to kick.

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 11:39 
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Taking it early as said will feel like there is less spin. Also you could wait till the ball is below the table and loop forward. Waiting will also have reduced spin feeling because spin is dying off the ball. You could stand slightly further and chop it with your pips also. He will most likely push if not in position to loop.

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2014, 11:50 
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As God as my witness (think I've said this before), I have faced heavy topspin from two different players before and here are my observations:

1) a fast low arc heavy topspin curved so much that it almost followed an L pattern if you ca imagine that;

2) A slow high arc high topspin to my fh resulted in the ball going straight into the net...we were rallying fh to fh and he kept increasing the op spin until that happened...

I'm still puzzled about these extreme top spins?????????

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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2014, 00:51 
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haggisv wrote:
dunc wrote:
By block, do you mean the kind block where I effectively do a small counter-hit? Like six inches of swing at the top of the bounce?

Not quite... take the ball early with a fairly closed bat, with some forward movement depending on how aggressive you want to return it. Taking it early with little swing reduces the chance of missing due to kick.

The difficulty there is getting to the right place quick enough - the ball moved very fast from his serve and if I can't get to the ball as it bounces, it sounds like it'll vastly increase my margin for error.

I think I'll try it though - if I'm in the right position, "block" it back like this. If I'm not in the right position, take a big step back with my right or left foot (depending on which side, obviously) and chop through it.

I didn't have too much of a problem returning it with my pimples but I ended up literally in my forehand quarter to return serve which made my point-winning forehand completely redundant.

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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2014, 08:38 
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You really only need to get your bat to it... it's already got the pace and spin to get it back to the other side.

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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2014, 10:04 
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It cant be heavier or faster than a reasonable loop. Blocking and counter-topspinning should work. If you are getting beaten for speed (which souldnt happen) then check your receive position...is your bat in a neutral position? Are your knees and back bent? Are you on your toes? Etc. also. Be sure not to be too central.


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