WATCH | Longest table tennis rally ever of 766 shots

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WATCH | Longest table tennis rally ever of 766 shots

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SportsCafe Desk


The longest ever rally in modern-day table tennis, from 1937 to present day, happened recently in a match between Li Jie and Hitomi Sato at the Seamaster 2017 World Tour and lasted for 10 minutes. The amazing event came to an end only when a second ball was accidentally dropped into the play area.

Both Li Jie and Hitomi Sato are naturally defensive players and prefer to counter-attack rather than push the tempo. The duo were involved in a bizarre rally during their match at the Seamaster 2017 World Tour which lasted for 10 minutes and 766 shots – the longest rally in the history of modern-day table tennis since 1937, when the ITTF started keeping its official record. The rally could have gone on longer if not for a second ball which was accidentally dropped in the play area.

The rally in itself was, however, a result of both players sticking to their chopping styles instead of attacking. Everyone in the stadium, including both the players, were glad when it was over. Li Jie has later confirmed that it was her coach who threw the ball in the court to stop the rally.

“In the third game which the long rally occured, I wanted to try changing my serve and started to 'push', I didn’t expect that Sato started to 'push' as well, and it ended up with that long rally.

“I didn’t realise that the rally went on for so long. After that my coach threw a ball into the court, and the umpires interrupted the game.

“At that point I was really relieved that that rally is over, because my arms were sweaty all over. After that, I think my attacks were better than hers, and won the next three games,” Jie told Straits Times.

According to the Guinness World Records, the longest table tennis rally, which lasted 8 hours 40 mins and 5 secs, was played on 23 March 2014 between Britons Daniel Ives and Peter Ives. However, it was a casual game that was aimed at breaking the previous world record. According to the ITTF, which has kept modern-day records since 1937, the longest rally took place at the 1936 world championships in Prague. Poland's Alojzy Ehrlich faced Paneth Farkas of Romania, and won a point after the ball crossed the net more than 12,000 times following 2hr 12min of play.

As a result of the rally, the “expedite system” was implemented for the remainder of the match. The system hands over the point to the receiver if a rally goes beyond 13 shots, forcing the server to be more aggressive.

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