(By Barbara Wei)
Eugene Wang&Jishan Liang Capture Open Doubles Championship Title
Eugene Wang & Jishan Liang continued their domination on the final day of the 2017 Butterfly Badger Open by winning the Open Doubles competition. Eugene and Jishan faced minimal competition in the semi-final and final rounds, moving through those matches without losing a game. However, in the quarterfinal round, the eventual champions were pushed to the limit by a surprise rookie team from Lindenwood University.
Massao Kohatsu and Jeff Yamada, freshman and sophomore players from Lindenwood University, true underdogs in the Open Doubles quarterfinal, played with confidence and determination to almost cause the biggest upset of the tournament in their doubles match against Eugene/Jishan. The match opened as expected with Eugene/Jishan taking the first game, but Massao/Jeff gained momentum and took the 2nd, 4th and 5th games to lead 3-2 in the best of 7 encounter.
By game 6 a large crowd had gathered on Table 1 to cheer on both teams as they battled in what became the biggest match of the day. Eugene/Jishan upped the intensity and opened with large leads and aggressive play, but Massao/Jeff were not to be taken advantage of. Down 6-9 in the 7th, Massao/Jeff won 3 points to tie the match 9-9. A hush came over the crowd as Eugene prepared to serve to Jeff – a topspin serve which Jeff flipped off the table. 10-9 and match point for Eugene/Jishan as Eugene prepared to serve again. This time, a no spin serve which Jeff flipped into a huge forehand loop from Jishan which was basically unblockable. Although disappointed, the Lindenwood team can pride themselves in their performance and look forward to causing major upsets in the future.
With the Open Doubles crown, Eugene continued his undefeated streak at the Butterfly Badger Open for the 4th straight time. Time will tell if a challenger will be able to overcome the titan!