By Larry Hodges
Kids dominated at the tournament this weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg, MD, winning five of the six rating events (the five highest ones), not to mention Under 15 and Under 12. (Here are complete results from Omnipong.) Only in the Open, Over 50, and Under 1200 were the kids fought off. Taking part were 83 players from nine states (MD, VA, PA, WV, NC, NY, OH, MA, and MO, plus DC), as well as players from Nigeria (Azeez Jamiu), Brazil (Lidney Castro) and Ghana (Courage Nanevie), plus of course a number of Chinese stars now playing and coaching in the U.S. – Jishan Liang, Ruichao “Alex” Chen, Chen Bo Wen, and Wang Qing Liang
I ran the tournament, but with great help from Mossa Barandao of Pongmobile (who acted as assistant director) and Wen Hsu, as well as Referee Paul Kovac and Umpire Steven Yeh. Thanks also goes to sponsors Butterfly and the HW Global Foundation.
Jishan Liang, now coaching at the Triangle TTC in North Carolina, won Open Singles over Ruichao “Alex” Chen in an all-lefty final, 7,8,7,8. If you wanted to see ferocious counterlooping, this was the match to see. In the semifinals, Jishan defeated Nigerian Azeez Jamiu, 8,4,9,-7,-9,9. The match was slightly marred by a controversy at 7-8 in the sixth, with Jishan leading. He apparently ripped a winner, but Azeez and some witnesses claimed it went through the net. Sure enough, the net had become frayed and there was a part where the string had broken out of the netting, and so could be pulled apart. But it’s a quick judgement call for the umpire, and he called it good (and you can’t change a judgment call), and and so the point stood. (We immediately changed nets – that will never happen again I promise!) Azeez took it pretty well after the match, even staying to watch the final.
In the other semifinal, Alex defeated fellow MDTTC coach Chen Bo Wen, 6,5,10,4, in an all-out two-way power display. Few players can rip the ball as hard as these two players, and yet the more savvy viewers may have studied their serve and often controlled receive, which is what sets up those rips.
The most interesting quarterfinal match was Chen Bo Wen’s monumental comeback against Lidney Castro from Brazil. Lidney won the first two games at 6 and 12, but an all-out third-balling Chen won the next two at 7 and 3. In the fifth, down 0-4, chen came back to 9-all, only to fall behind 9-10 match point. His next serve was probably meant to be “half-long,” with the second bounce at the end-line, but it went a few inches too long, and Lidney absolutely ripped it – just off! And so Chen saved that match point, and won the next two points. Another great quarterfinal match was Jishan’s battle with another MDTTC coach, chopper/looper Wang Qing Liang. Jishan won 3-0, 8,7,9, but all three games were battles.
Now we get to the kid-killing part of the tournament – not killing kids, but kids killing everything and winning the top five rating events, three of them by girls. In Under 2400, it was 12-year-old Tiffany Ke (rated 2238) over Courage Nanevie of Guyana, 11,5,9. In the semifinals, she had barely gotten past 14-year-old Spencer Chen (under-rated at 2057), -11,9,-9,8,8. In the other semifinal, Courage also came back, from down 0-2, to win at -5,-7,8,6,4 against 15-year-old Klaus Wood (rated 2363).
In Under 2200, it was 13-year-old Kelly Liang over Claudia Ikeizumi, 4,5,-9,6. In Under 2000, it was 12-year-old Jessica Lin over Nicholas Wetzler, 9,5,7. In Under 1800, it was 8-year-old Stanley Hsu over Justin Hensley, 7,6,8 – is it even legal to win an event that high at that age? Stanley had come in way under-rated at 1406. In the preliminaries, he’d actually lost a deuce-in-the-fourth battle with Justin (rated 1696), but apparently he (or his coach) had figured something out for the final. Justin had a battle in the semifinals, defeating 12-year-old Daniel Sofer at 12,-7,9,-9,8, in a battle between two players with great lobbing skills. Another 8-year-old took Under 1500, with Mu Du over 10-year-old Nicole Deng, 9,-7,-5,7,9. But the junior howling came to an end in Under 1200, which was a family affair as Jordan Dovel (21, coming in with a rating of 932) upset brother Matthew (17, 1121) in another monumental struggle, 9,12,-9,-10,8.
The juniors came back sweep both junior events. In Under 15, it was 13-year-old Kelly Liang (adding to her Under 2200 title) over 14-year-old Spencer Chen, where she’d won one game from down 7-9, and down 5-7 in the fifth, won five in a row. Spencer had won against his younger brother, 12-year-old Ronald, while in the other semifinals Kelly had to come back to win against William Huang, -9,-8,6,6,6. In Under 12, it was 10-year-old Ainish Dassarma over 8-year-old Stanley Hsu, 3,10,7. Both had titanic semifinal matches, with Ainish winning out against 9-year-old chopper Andy Wu, 9,10,-8,-10,6, and Stanley just edging out 9-year-old Ryan Lee, 2,-5,7,-6,9. In the quarters, Andy had to battle back to win against 10-year-old Nicole Deng, -9,-8,8,11,7. In Over 50, however, the juniors were completely shut out, with James Deng winning out over Eugene Zhang, 11,2,5.
MDTTC Butterfly February Open Results
Here are complete results from Omnipong.
(Click on names to see pictures.)
Open Singles – Final: Jishan Liang d. Ruichao “Alex” Chen, 7,8,7,8; SF: Liang d. Azeez Jamiu, 8,4,9,-7,-9,9; R. Chen d. Chen Bo Wen, 6,5,10,4; QF: R. Chen d. Nathan Hsu, 6,8,11; Chen Bo Wen d. Lidney Castro, -6,-12,7,3,10; Jamiu d. Roy Ke, 6,8,-7,9; Liang d. Wang Qing Liang, 8,7,9.
Under 2400 – Final: Tiffany Ke d. Courage Nanevie, 11,5,9; SF: Ke d. Spencer Chen, -11,9,-9,8,8; Nanevie d. Klaus Wood, -5,-7,8,6,4; QF: Wood d. William Huang, 3,9,-9,3; Nanevie d. Naveen Vaddadi, -8,7,3,4; Chen d. Kelly Liang, 2,-9,-6,7,3; Ke d. John Wetzler, 5,-9,7,-12,8.
Under 2200 – Final: Kelly Liang d. Claudia Ikeizumi, 4,5,-9,6; SF: Liang d. Courage Nanevie, 6,4,-3,4; Ikeizumi d. Costel Constantin, 7,8,5.
Under 2000 – Final: Jessica Lin, d. Nicholas Wetzler, 9,5,7; SF: Lin d. William Xu, 11,9,-9,7; Wetzler d. Frederick Nicolas, -7,9,8,6.
Under 1800 – Final: Stanley Hsu d. Justin Hensley, 7,6,8; SF: Hsu d. Nicole Deng, 8,8,7; Hensley d. Daniel Sofer, 12,-7,9,-9,8.
Under 1500 – Final: Mu Du d. Nicole Deng, 9,-7,-5,7,9; SF: Du d. Andy Wu, 9,-4,6,5; Deng d. Debabrata Ghosh, 5,-9,-7,9,7.
Under 1200 – Final: Jordan Dovel d. Matthew Dovel, 9,12,-9,-10,8; SF: J. Dovel d. Stephanie Zhang, -9,11-11,1,8; M. Dovel d. Eugene Zhang, -5,6,-7,8,9.
Over 50: 1st James Deng, 3-0; 2nd Eugene Zhang, 2-1; 3rd Alex Nguyen, 1-2; 4th
James Wilson, 0-3.
Under 15 – Final: Kelly Liang d. Spencer Chen, -8,9,-6,8,8; SF: Liang d. William Huang, -9,-8,6,6,6; Chen d. Ronald Chen, 6,6,4.
Under 12 – Final: Ainish Dassarma d. Stanley Hsu, 3,10,7; SF: Dassarma d. Andy Wu, 9,10,-8,-10,6; Hsu d. Ryan Lee, 2,-5,7,-6,9.
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