Ruichao Chen Wins 2015 Butterfly Badger Open in Epic 7 Game Battle
by Barbara Wei
Ruichao Chen (2701 – LYTTC), the top seed at the 2015 Butterfly Badger Open, successfully claimed the championship title in a nail biting 7 game final against the second seed Jishan Liang (2669 – NYISC). The Open Singles event at the 2015 Butterfly Badger Open featured spectacular matches from the round of 16, the first round of the single elimination. With all matches played best of 7, the competition became a grueling battle for the eventual finalists.
Ruichao Chen had a relatively easy time in his draws, winning his quarterfinal, and semifinal in four straight games, overcoming Cheng Li (2558 – MS College) and Rajat Hubli (2471) respectively. Jishan Liang had a more difficult time, overcoming Antoine Bernadet (2351) 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The Canadian Antoine had caused one of the first upsets of the Open Singles elimination draw by taking out Yuxiang Jin (2530) in the round of 16. Jishan then barely squeaked by a hot Yichi Zhang (2567 – MS College) in the semifinal, 11-9 in the 7th after trailing the entire match (first down 0-2 and then 2-3 in games, and 7-9 in the 7th game) before moving onto the final against Ruichao.
The final was an epic battle of two lefties with good serves and powerful forehand attacks. While Ruichao had the benefit of slightly quicker footwork and a more powerful forehand third ball, Jishan had the advantage in the backhand corner. The result was a full-length marathon match featuring many forehand counter-looping rallies and spectacular over the table play. Ruichao looked in trouble in game six, trailing 2 games to 3, and losing 0-4, when he called a timeout that changed the course of the entire match. After being down 0-4, he then led 10-6, before Jishan caught up to 10-10. In a nail-biting few deuce points, Ruichao closed out game 6, 12-10 to force the 7th and final game. Ruichao would dominate in game 7 and run away with the game 11-7.
A come from behind victory for the top seed, but a victory nonetheless. With his determined spirit and focused attitude, Ruichao has claimed his second 2015 Butterfly North American Tour title, adding to his win at the 2015 Butterfly Aurora Cup this January.
Many exciting matches continue into the second day of play at the 2015 Butterfly Badger Open, with the conclusion of the Open Doubles and U-2500 events among others.