Congratulations 2015 ITTF North America Cup Champions, Jimmy Butler & Mo Zhang! - Butterfly Table Tennis
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Congratulations 2015 ITTF North America Cup Champions, Jimmy Butler & Mo Zhang!

Congratulations 2015 ITTF North America Cup Champions, Jimmy Butler & Mo Zhang!

The Difference One Year Makes, a Difference of Three Decades

Courtesy of ITTF

May 17, 2015 –
One year ago in Burnaby it was a 14 year old who emerged successful, one year later it was a 44 year old; in 2014 Kanak Jha of the United States became the youngest ever winner. At the 2015 ITTF-North America Cup in Markham, Toronto on the evening of Sunday May 17th, Jim Butler, likewise from the United States, became the oldest ever champion.

Occupying the no.4 seeded position in the draw, at the final hurdle he beat colleague Timothy Wang, the top seed, to claim the title (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8), after some 90 minutes earlier having won a titanic duel against Canada’s Pierre-Luc Theriault, the no.2 seed (11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 3-11, 7-11, 18-16).

Staved Off Recovery
In the counterpart Men’s Singles semi-final, Timothy Wang emerged successful in a contest that was as tense as the Pierre-Luc Theriault versus Jimmy Butler epic.

He ended the reign of Kanak Jha, the no.3 seed in Markham, staving off a brave recovery by the teenager to emerge victorious in seven games (11-8, 11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 1-11, 8-11, 11-5). In the third place contest Pierre-Luc Theriault beat Kanak Jha (11-9, 8-11,11-8, 11-7).

Table Tennis Heaven
“Winning this title is one of the best titles of my career and the most amazing feeling; it feels like I’m in table tennis heaven!” said Jimmy Butler. “I have never won a big North American title, I have been the runner up at four North American Championships in the past and so this victory is simply amazing!”

Playing intelligently, lethal with a fast backhand, consistent with a carefully guided forehand top spin and when required to block secure, Jimmy Butler used his experience to good effect.

Playing Safe
“I didn’t think I had a chance in this tournament, even in the semi-final, I just didn’t feel like I was playing well, I was just playing soft and safe on the table”, added Jimmy Butler.

“So I really thought Timothy is going to kill me in the final.”

Certainly Timothy Wang was the favorite but he made mistakes against a more consistent adversary.

“I’m really surprised that I actually played my best match of the tournament in the final tonight; that was very unexpected”, continued Jimmy Butler. “Timothy looked better than me the whole tournament but once the match started, I was able to deal with all of his shots and I got into a good rhythm; I played very consistently and mistake free, which is one thing I’ve always been striving to do.”

Mo Zhang
Zhang Mo retained her Women’s Singles title; she beat Lily Zhang in their final
Photo by Didier Ma

Zhang Mo Retains Title
Gold for experience and in the counterpart Women’s Singles event, it to some extent the same scenario; Canada’s 26 year old Zhang Mo retained her title.

The no.2 seed, she beat Lily Zhang of the United States, the top seed, in the final (11-3, 11-1, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7), having at the semi-final overcome Amy Wang, the no.8 seed and also from the United States (11-3, 11-3, 8-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9).

In the counterpart semi-final, Lily Zhang had overcome colleague Judy Hugh, the no.5 seed (9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8). Third place went to Amy Wang, she beat Judy Hugh in three straight games (13-11, 11-8, 11-9).

Well Prepared
“I think I prepared very well for the final against Lily; she’s higher ranked than me, so I was always ready to fight during the match”, said Zhang Mo. “I am elated to qualify for the Women’s World Cup later this year; last year I lost in the qualifications, so I hope to advance further this year!”

World Cup Tournaments
Zhang Mo now qualifies for the Women’s World Cup to be staged in Sendai, Japan from Friday 30th October to Sunday November 1st; while Jimmy Butler now has a passport to the Liebherr Men’s World Cup to be held in Halmstad Sweden from Friday October 16th to Sunday October 18th.

Quotes of the Day
2015 ITTF-North America Cup: Sunday 17th May – Quotes of the Day

 Gold Medal Match

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