With the Rio Olympics less than two months away, athletes across the world are getting in peak condition in their respective disciplines – and Chinese table tennis star Fan Zhendong is clearly no exception.
Competing in the International Table Tennis Federation's Japan Open, the 19-year-old Zhendong found himself facing France's Simon Gauzy in a men's singles quarterfinal showdown, and he didn't waste much time making his mark on the match.
Leading 3-1 in the first set, Zhendong's serve was returned by Gauzy, whose shot struck the top of the net before falling onto Zhendong's side – usually an automatic point victory due to the sudden changes in the ball's speed and direction.
But Zhendong recovered with an unprecedented return that's impossible to adequately praise with words alone. Fortunately, the ITTF's YouTube Channel secured this video, meaning we won't have to search for any words:
If you didn't know it was legal to return a ball under the table tennis net, you're excused, because we didn't either. But that doesn't take away from the absurdity of Zhendong's return, which was so impressive that Gauzy himself simply had to smile out of respect as the ball passed him.
Fresh off his highlight-reel winner, Zhendong went on to capture the match and the tournament as a whole, giving him momentum as the Olympics approach. Zhendong is currently the No. 2 ranked men's singles player in the ITTF World Rankings, trailing only fellow Chinese competitor Ma Long.
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