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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2010, 16:54 
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BAUM vs OVTCHAROV: the battle of seven plies
With seven ply blades being some players’ answer to the glue ban. Donic’s two new offerings following the success of the famous Persson Powerplay are both seven ply blades. But why have professionals chosen the Ovtcharov over the Baum?

Baum Carrera Senso: Not a thin version of the Clipper!

Baum’s style is fun to watch, he has a solid short game, and in a rally he would often make a sudden switch from defending to attacking. His two winged looping style is superior to the other European junior players, his action is smooth and has a trace of the way Asian players play: relaxed but focused, consistent but fast ball speed.

He is often able to attack first through his backhand flicking and punch blocking, he doesn’t make many errors. His backhand looping is very forward, resulting in great ball speed. His forehand looping motion adjusts beautifully to the incoming ball, uses power appropriately, and has good brushing ability. Two winged looping is solid and consistent, changing of angle is sudden and unexpected.

From the structure of his blade, it seems that it would be thinned down version of the Clipper. But after a couple of hits it becomes obvious that is has no relations to the famous blade. A thinned Clipper would still be a Clipper. However, the Baum does not feel like a Swedish blade at all. Let’s say the Ovtcharov is both able to hit and loop, and is perfectly viable if a player wishes to just hit with it, then the Baum is a looper’s blade, its hitting ability is only so-so.

When hitting with the Baum, it lacks a “layered” feeling, sort of like the blade is not moving in unison, and when pushing with it the feeling is even more direct, which, for a thin blade the feel is remarkably solid. Slapping a tensor on the forehand, by using its bouncy sponge, would be able to create stable loops that have fast speed.

However when paired with Chinese rubbers, it seems that neither the rubber nor the blade can reveal its true potential. The racket is supposed to be one inseparable object, but the Baum rejects rubbers like H3 and 729-08 (both possessing traditional Chinese rubber qualities). The Baum can be described as having a direct feel, very small blade deformation (stiff/barely flexes), has good first gear, and average higher gears.

When paired with H3, it is easy to loop with, the arc is reasonable and stable, but the feel seems to be muffled between the rubber and the blade, making it uneasy to use the top gears of H3. When paired with 729-08, because the Baum’s higher gears are not outstanding to begin with, and the 729-08 sponge can hardly be deemed fast/lively, there is an obvious ‘ceiling effect’ (ie top out), drives that landed by the H3, dropped to the net by the 729-08.

There is an exception though, when paired with Haifu’s Blue Whale 2 (39 degrees), the performance was not bad.

For the backhand, tensors would be top choice since they bite the ball well, have good bounce, and easy to hit through. Stuff like JO Platin, Nimbus VIP performed well, and the feeling is clear. But choosing Japanese rubbers such as Sriver EL, it would again limit the potential of the Baum.

Conclusion: The Baum has very little blade deformation (or flex), during its dwell time, there is weak ‘layered’ feeling (stays only on the outer ply), thus for players that prefer to use their own power, they would be much better off with a traditional Swedish blade. On the other hand, this blade offers a direct feel in the short game, direction control is good, and the feeling is sort of like a Samsonov Alpha from back in the 38mm days, only upgraded. Unfortunately it has average higher gears, and it is picky on its rubbers.

Ovtcharov Senso: Unique Swedish feeling blade perfect for hitting and looping.

Donic’s Ovtcharov seems to be quite popular amongst the pros, used by Li Ping, Liu Shuwen, Chang Chenchen, and is often seen at the super leagues.

Before the VOC ban, Stiga blades had the unique “Transparent and layered feel” during its long dwell time, this together with “it gives what you can put in” potential, left Chinese players choosing only their range of blades.

And though the Ovtcharov is a little thicker than the accepted “6mm” blade, and doesn’t use overly stiff plies, when using medium power, the feel is stable, when hitting the feel is solid and clear. This allows for accurate usage of power and control over direction. When using more power, there is a slight ‘Stiga blade’ feel, the clear swallowing and spitting of the ball, and attacking has better feeling than most 5 ply Swedish blades.

When looping, the feel is similar to the ANV WL, during its dwell time there is good ‘layered’ feeling, and there is great power and very high upper gears. If we forgot about the structure for a second, the Ovtcharov would have the upper gears of the ANV WL, minus 1 point. And from its all-round ability, the ANV WL has been deemed the epitome of 5 ply blades, the absolute apex.

From some points of view, the Ovtcharov feels very close to traditional Swedish blades, this could be because it is made in the same factory as other Stiga blades, but at the same time when fast attacking, the feel is much clearer than most Swedish blades. Further its balance between hitting and looping capabilities, allows it to fulfil the requirements in a blade to meet the VOC ban.

Conclusion: Now although the Ovtcharov has many good points, such as good unison between hitting and looping, is not picky about rubbers, can match Chinese rubbers, good higher gears, solid feel, excels in borrowing pace and defending, it has the same flaw as most blades designed for all-rounded play, that is it is on the heavy side and slightly thicker than “traditional” blades. And though it has a solid feel, it lacks the minute clarity of a 5 ply, such as a P500. Another thing is that it has taken the all-round route, thus there is no ‘personality’, giving people a sense that though it is powerful, it has no ‘spirit’. In terms of rubber pairing, everything from H3 to Srivers to tensors pair it nicely.

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2010, 17:00 
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Excellent as always, geko! :D

Just a query though, what is an ANV WL?

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2010, 17:16 
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Thanks Yuzuki!
I had no idea either when I read it, but after a look at the photo I can recognise it, though I've never played with it before.

It is the Nittaku ANV WL
http://www.hypertt.com/catalog/entry/exrdghgd.shtml

(Sorry for the external link Alex :P)

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2010, 17:27 
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Great article geko! Who was the original article written by? Very useful to hear the mention of quite a fw other blades and rubbers as well!

PS External links are no problem at all, as long as they provide useful information, which it certainly does in this case :wink:

Thanks for the translation, much appreciated!

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2010, 07:19 
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haggisv wrote:
Great article geko! Who was the original article written by? Very useful to hear the mention of quite a fw other blades and rubbers as well!

PS External links are no problem at all, as long as they provide useful information, which it certainly does in this case :wink:

Thanks for the translation, much appreciated!

The original can be found in "Table Tennis World" magazine, 2009 November edition (p.120-something).

There is another article about the various 7 ply blades with relations to the glue ban, but is both quite lengthy and contains many pictures of the structures. Once I am clear that it does not violate any copyright (ie, can be found elsewhere on the net), I will translate and post it up.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2010, 07:35 
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OK, sounds good! Sounds like it was certainly written by quite an experienced person.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2010, 20:47 
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gekogark1212 wrote:
Once I am clear that it does not violate any copyright (ie, can be found elsewhere on the net), I will translate and post it up.

They release all the TTWorld magazines on the net for free anyways. They are over here: http://www.sportspress.cn/yls/magzine/jing/ppsj/

It was discussed here previously: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7071

And thanks again for the translation. Excellent stuff :)

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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2010, 02:27 
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Nice one Gek!

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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2010, 22:42 
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I enjoyed this Gek.

If there was any chance of you doing 1 or 2 sentence summaries of some of the other 7 plies in the article that would be great; especially P700, Clipper and the Yasakas.

I have just downloaded 2010 03 edition to see an article and pictures of Waldner and Persson. I can't read any chinese and all attempts to cut and paste out of the Ping Pang mag application for auto translation have failed. If anyone can highlight any thing Persson and Waldner have to say that's interesting that would also be much appreciated. Please.


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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2010, 00:22 
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hey you guys heard that donic came up with a new bat called
Waldner Ultra OFF?
Its 7-ply pure wood too......

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