My question is about who wins the point when the ball spins back over the net without the other player touching it.
For example, if player B returns player A's service with sufficient backspin so that the ball hits player A's side of the table and then bounces back over the net to player B's side of the table without being hit by player A - who wins the point?
Also, who wins the point if the same thing happens during a rally?
Thanks for your question. In both instances player B wins the point.
Of course, the opposite can also happen. For example, if player A serves with sufficient backspin so that the ball hits player B's side of the table and then bounces back over the net to player A's side of the table without being hit by player B, then player A wins the point.
The rules (Law 2.10) state that a player wins a point if an opponent fails to make a correct return.
The receiver must hit the ball before it bounces on the other side of the table. This means that if a player imparts backspin on the ball which causes it to go back over the net towards them, the receiver must still hit the ball before it bounces on the other side of the table.
The receiver can go beyond the net to play a stroke if they are quick enough, but they'll lose the point if they don't hit it.
Here are two videos which show this in action.
The first video shows an English player (Mathew Ware) who is demonstrating his skills to a TV reporter, whilst the second video shows a rally between two World Top 20 players - Wang Manyu of China and Hitomi Sato of Japan.
In this first video, watch how Matt Ware imparts backspin onto the ball so that the TV reporter cannot reach it (at 36 seconds into the video). If this occurred in a match, Matt would win the point.
This second video clip shows a rally between two World Top 20 players - Wang Manyu of China (black shirt) and Hitomi Sato of Japan (red shirt). Sato is serving and, on the sixth stroke of the rally, Wang's stroke hits the table on Sato's side and returns back to her side without Sato hitting it. Wang wins the point.
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