The following observations are of course my personal view and do not claim to be the “truth”! Wang Xi is not playing for any country at the moment and therefore is not ranked in the ITTF. But I would consider him to be the best defender (at least the same standard as Joo se Hyuk) in the world.
Here comes Wang Xi (Germany, formerly China):
The two currently best defenders playing each other:
- Good footwork and physical fitness
- Great forehand topspin against pushes and also against topspins.
- Great “choppy” defending on backhand
- Good defending on topspins into his body
- Good forehand topspin against chop and counter topspin
- Good blocking with long pimples against slow topspins or blocks of opponent
- Good backhand serves
- Good deceptive forehand serves
- defense with forehand occasionally comes back to high or too long
- no use of backhand topspin with pimples-in or smash-blocking with pimples-in.
- not enough variety in serves in general
- forehand push has not enough backspin to force the opponent to “lift” his topspin up rather than “hammering” it.
- always uses pimples-out on the backhand to push back balls coming into his backhand
- occasional use of pimples-out on the forehand when confronted with heavy, but slow topspin into his forehand would help.
- heavy chop push with backhand using pimples-in against drop shots into his backhand should be developed.