Defense Returns to the Top as Wang Wei Claims Top Spot
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Defense Returns to the Top as Wang Wei Claims Top Spot

Defense Returns to the Top as Wang Wei Claims Top Spot

Defense Returns to the Top as Wang Wei Claims Top Spot

(BY MATT HETHERINGTON)
Defense Returns to the Top as Wang Wei Claims Top Spot
The finals stage was set for China’s Wang Wei and ICC California’s Bob Chen as the two waited in the wings above the playing court at The Foundry in the SLS Hotel and Casino. They were about the compete in the Men’s Singles Final of the 2016 US Open Table Tennis Championships. The crowd roared as Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico took down the Women’s crown and it was time for the Men to come down to center stage and fight for the US Open trophy.

Among a tough draw of top international opponents including top two seeds Kenji Matsudaira and Jin Takuya, it was Wang and Chen who had emerged and consistently performed throughout the tournament to have their chance at the top spot. Wang Wei a short pimples modern defender would have his work cut out to beat the consistent and high technical form of Bob Chen, a player who had beaten him 3-1 on their previous encounter less than a month ago at the Joola North American Team Championships Final.

It was Bob Chen who took the early lead after a hard fought first match, Wang looked a little tense and Bob Chen took full advantage. The desire of both player to win was there. Tao Wenzhang, 2014 US Open champion was in the corner of Bob Chen. Could he create an amazing record by completing a hat trick for his ICC winning team of the Joola teams by joining Tao and Wang as a third US Open champ?

Wang Wei, a player of great experience in the Chinese system and in Europe as a representative of Spain, settled in and laid his foundations. As he drew the match even at 1-1 after a decisive 11-1 second set win you could see he was a much more relaxed player and this instantly offered him the ability to play more consistently and make more variations. As the errors creeped in for Bob Chen, it was Wang Wei who burst ahead in the match.

A timeout from Wang at 8-7 and 1-1 proved crucial as he defended his way to take the lead. As the match continued it was Wang who forced more errors and showed the incredible diversity of modern defense, at times even playing more aggressively than his opponent. From chopping to retrieving to counterlooping and third ball, Wang Wei showed that he had all the tools to take down the title.

Before long it was Wang who held a 3-1 lead and despite his best efforts, Bob Chen was unable to fight back into the match as we saw a little more discomfort and inconsistency in his game, perhaps the pressure had got to him? The crowd were invested in the match along with the viewers on the live stream around the world.

It took him more than one match point but eventually it was Wang Wei who was able to hoist the US Open trophy over his head, a 4-1 victory (9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11)

Finals Session Video (Men’s Second Match)

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