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Big Guns Showdown at LYTTC June Open

(BY MATT HETHERINGTON)

An exceptional quartet of players would hold the top seedings in the Open Singles at the LYTTC Northeast June Open, but only two of them would reach the penultimate stage, both in front of their home club supporters. The caliber of play was high across a number of the top events, but table tennis victory was not the only goal on hand.

A trio of young juniors with help from club members and parents sought to raise funds for the US Paralympic Team and setup their endeavor on tournament day, selling uniquely branded shirts, chinese food and all manner of snacks to help raise funds to the cause. With a superb opening ceremony and introduction and the street outside bustling with the Dunellen Town Fair it was going to be a great day of action at Lily Yip Table Tennis Center.

One of the first seeds to crumble was two time Arnold Challenge Champion Li Jian. His opponent a newcomer to the New Jersey scene was Kazeem Makanjuola from Nigeria, as of May 2017 ranked 348 on the ITTF World Rankings. His heavy topspin and fighting spirit led him to victory over his defensive opponent. He would go through to the semifinals and cause some troubles for top seed Jun Han Wu who was under pressure from the beginning against Kazeem who took game one. Wu would exert his prowess and take a 3-1 win to advance to the final.

Without a doubt the biggest upset of the day was that of Adar Alguetti, currently rated 2631, he led an outstanding performance against Pan Deng, currently 2750 and a former Polish Super League and Chinese League Player. The epic 5 set duel took everything Alguetti had and coming through to the semifinals it was Kaden Xu, the 2017 Cary Cup Champion (2690) who waited in the wings for a finals berth.

He would get just that, maneuvering himself into position to execute his deadly forehand attacks and putting himself in a dominant position early on in the match. He powered through to a 3-0 win and advanced to the final where he would face Jun Han Wu.
The two players engaged in a mighty showdown, two of the very top players on the east coast and in fact the whole USA. Both executing efficient, quick and powerful strokes, there was no mercy as they went head to head. Back and forths ensued as both players fought to gain control but in the end the match would boil down to the fifth game. As the pressure mounted and Jun Han clawed back to take a 10-9 lead in the 5th, the pressure was on Kaden Xu.

That pressure would be his unwinding as a mistimed serve failed to take flight and handed Jun Han Wu the match. A spectacle to see nonetheless, full highlights can be found on USATT’s Youtube Channel below, along with the full event results. A big thank you to all our participants and those who came to support the US Para Athletes!

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