Friday, July 4, 2014

Possibly a Record Setter

A minor record may have been broken this Independence Day in Grand Rapids. Check out the start of this match between Riyo Nemoto (WR 110) vs Eriko Kitaoka (unranked), both from Japan, in the 2014 US Open Women's Singles quarterfinals:

The rules require the expedite system to kick in after 10 minutes have passed in a game, if 18 total points have not been played. Therefore a point shouldn't last more than 10 minutes. The exceptions would be if the game has already reached the 19th point and then suddenly the players decide to play a marathon point, or if the umpires are not doing their job of timing the match.

In this case, the first point of the match started when Nemoto tossed the ball at 15:47 of the video, and the point was over at 25:44; so the point lasted 9 minutes and 57 seconds. If they had continued for four more rallies or so, the assistant umpire would have called "time" and stopped play, thereby cancelling the point; they would have started again at 0-0. But Nemoto pushed into the net, the players received a loud ovation and each took a well deserved stretch, and the assistant umpire called "time" almost immediately which started expedite at 1-0. So is 9 minutes, 57 seconds the longest single point in ITTF competition since the sport changed to a 10 minute time limit?

(Expedite used to be called at the 15 minute mark, back when games were played to 21. Personally, I enjoy watching expedite matches.)

A few minutes after this singles match, Kitaoka and Nemoto turned right around and played a doubles match as partners; they won that match and have made it into the semifinals.

The US Open concludes tomorrow. The first Women's Singles semifinal is scheduled to take place at 3:45pm Eastern time and will feature the winner of this marathon match (Nemoto) against another chopper, top seed Li Xue of France. Follow the action here.

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