Hou Yingchao

Hou Yingchao generates devastating backspin loops with both the backhand and the forehand, along with a powerful forehand topspin. Hou Yingchao is currently not ranked in ITTF World Table Tennis Men’s rankings. In January 2007, he achieved the best ranking of ten in his career.

The brightest moment in the table tennis career of Hou Yingchao came when he won the Eurosib Russian Open Men’s Singles event in November 2006 at St. Petersburg. In the finals, he was facing Zoran Primorac of Croatia. Hou Yingchao promptly lost the opening game, his first loss of a game in the whole tournament. Primorac was concentrating on attacking the backhand of Hou Yingchao and it worked. However, the smart Chinese started getting around the backhand to execute his fearsome forehand topspin strokes.

He won the second game and leveled the scores. In the third game, Hou Yingchao got his backspin play also going and went ahead 9-4. At that moment, Primorac received a yellow card for kicking the ball. Still, he reduced the arrears to 10-9. However, Hou Yingchao executed ferocious forehands to take the game.

Both the players were fully charged up in the fourth game but Hou Yingchao managed to win 11-8. The fifth game brought out the attacking mastery of Primorac and the defensive skills of Hou Yingchao, with the score level at 9-all. Primorac won the next 2 points to reduce the deficit. Primorac jumped to an early lead of 8-0 in the sixth game. Hou Yingchao started making mistakes and Primorac took the sixth game and leveled 3-all. The seventh game became crucial for both. Hou Yingchao came back strongly to take a 5-1 lead and extended it to 7-1. Primorac was not one to give up easily and he fought back to a 7-5 deficit. However, Hou Yingchao remained resolute and determined. He went ahead 10-7. Primorac saved the first match point and Hou Yingchao won the second and along with it, the match and the title. This was the first Men’s Singles tile on the ITTF Pro Tour events for Hou Yingchao, an unforgettable moment for him.

To make it more memorable, in the Men’s doubles event in the same tournament, Hou Yingchao had earlier partnered Lin Ju of the Dominican Republic, and had reached the doubles finals. The pair was facing Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore in the finals. Like his singles final, Hou Yingchao and Lin Ju dropped the first game 9-11. However, they played strongly after that to take the next 4 games and win the doubles title at 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4, and 11-6. That was a sweet double pleasure for Hou Yingchao.

However, there had been one black spot in the table tennis career of Hou Yingchao. In January 2004, he was removed from the Chinese national team, for allegedly engaging in romantic affairs with his girlfriend and teammate, world number 9, Li Nan. Two other Chinese women players, Bai Yang and Fan Ying also faced the same allegations. All of them were dropped from the national team and were sent home to ‘carry out deep reflection.’ However, world number 1, Ma Lin, and number 4, Wang Ho, who were associated with Bai Yang and Fan Ying respectively, were spared, since their inclusion was considered crucial for the Olympic Games.

In the Men’s Singles event at the 2008 Stag Belarus Open Hou Yingchao’s loss to Chinese national team colleague, Xu Xin was the major casualty on the third day of play. Though he had beaten Russia’s Alexander Steshenko in the opening round, Hou Yingchao lost in five games in round two to Xu Xin.

While Hou Yingchao registered only a single win in the 2009 Chinese Super League, He had 3 losses against other players such as Xu Xin, Wang Hao, and Lin Chen. He had also lost both matches in 2008’s Chinese Super League, against Xu Ke and Wang Hao again.

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