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William Henzell's Blog July 21, 2014

It's been a completely action packed past 2 weeks for me. Firstly, we had the 2014 Australian National Championships over in Perth two weekends ago. I was forced to skip the team event this year due to work commitments and went over just for the men’s singles and doubles (with new partner David Powell following Robert Frank’s retirement). The nationals is one of the events I rate most highly personally. Winning my first title back in 2001 is still one of my proudest moments as a player as becoming the champion of your country is such a great honour.

This year’s event was of special significance for me as it would mark my 10th singles title in a row and 12th in title. Playing domestic events has, out of necessity – be it right or wrong, become about collecting numbers. I remember after having won my 5th title in a row, I wondered if I could get to 10. Going for arbitrary feats like that is one of few motivators left, apart from trying to win each match I ever play.

Fate would have it that I played long time foe Simon Gerada, who I’ve played in 6 or 7 finals over the years, in the quarter-final. Our last few big matches have been closely contested and there’s no doubt he is still one of Australia’s most dangerous players on his day. I had the upper hand this time and took a solid 4-0 victory. In the semi-final I beat surprise packet Shaoping Zhang, who had knocked out 4th seed Heming Hu en-route to the semi. I played solidly, making few mistakes ad won 4-0.

In the final I squared off against David Powell, who has well and truly taken over the no. 2 spot in Australia. He beat me in February at the Commonwealth Games trials, and the time before that I scraped through from a 2-3 in sets and 2-8 deficit to beat him in the semis of last year’s nationals. In the final I felt settled from the word go and was playing consistent table tennis. I returned well, made almost no errors on my first attacks and put David under constant pressure to make difficult counterspins. Putting my opponent under this kind of pressure by making few mistakes early in the rally used to be my main trade mark. I don’t play enough these days to have that same consistency s I’m very pleased in the matches where I do. Dave should have won one of the sets, but I was the better player on the day and had a solid 4-0 win in the final.

I was back home for a few days before we jetted off to Shandong, China for a week of intensive training in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. More on that shortly.

Published date: 
Tue, 07/22/2014 - 07:45