Travels Rewarded Teenage Duo Causes First Round Upsets
2015 ITTF North American Championships
Courtesy of ITTF
Winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles title earlier this year on the ITTF Junior Circuit in Puerto Rico, Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, alongside Sharon Alguetti of the United States, who in May travelled to Europe to compete in Poland, caused the upsets in the first round of the Men’s Singles event at the 2015 ITTF-North American Championships in Westchester, New York on Sunday September 6th.
Both gave scintillating performances to reserve their places in the quarter-finals.
Sharon Alguetti, 14 years old and the no.11 seed, withstood a brave recovery from compatriot, Zhang Yahao, the no.5 seed, to emerge successful.
After winning the first three games, he emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the decider (11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 4-11, 6-11, 10-12, 11-9); the success following a rather less dramatic win recorded by Jeremy Hazin.
The no.10 seed, in a battle of 15 year olds, he accounted for Krishnateja Avvari, the no.8 seed in four straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7).
“It was a good match against Zhang Yahao but tough mentally for me”, said Sharon Alguetti. “I went three-nil ahead but then I started defending and he came back to level the match at three-three; however, he was more nervous than I was, so I managed to win the decider.”
Sharon Alguetti maintained his nerve.
“In the seventh game, I kept telling myself that I can’t lose because I killed him in the first three games”, added the American teenager. “I tried to open up the first few points, that got him nervous and he was shaking in the last couple of points.”
Pleased and Surprised
A pleased American, it was also a more than pleased and somewhat surprised Canadian.
“I was the underdog in this match so I never expected to beat him; head to head, he had won many more times than me, so a four-nil win against Krish is really impressive, a huge upset, so I’m feeling really good about my play today”, said Jeremy Hazin with his usual bright smile.
“Finding the correct placement for the ball was the toughest part of the match for me, trying to find the best position to make my opponent uncomfortable”, added Jeremy Hazin. “I think that’s the reason why I could win against Krish just now.”
Stretched to Limit
Surprise wins for two aspiring teenagers and there was almost one more; 13 year old Victor Liu, the no.9 seed, extended United States colleague, Jimmy Butler, to the very limit (8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8).
“Victor played better than I did, I’m luckily to win this match against him”, reflected Jimmy Butler. “First of all, I had big problems with his serves, it ruins my confidence every time it happens; I had so many problems that I never could get into rhythm, it gave him so many free points during the match.”
However, at 44 years of age, experience was on the side of Jimmy Butler.
“First half of the match, I was trying to receive with my backhand but it wasn’t working well; so I started to chop heavy and fast with my forehand, it gave me a much better chance in the match”, continued Jimmy Butler. “It still wasn’t perfect, I still had problems but at least I wasn’t making so many mistakes and giving him more points; at least I could play a rally.”
Success but at no stage was Jimmy Butler comfortable.
“My goal for every tournament is to try get into rhythm and play well; of course every player wants to win”, concluded Jimmy Butler. “It’s easy to say, I’m trying to implement what I have done in training; in this match I didn’t do well.”
A close call for Jimmy Butler but for his United States colleagues, Timothy Wang, Kanak Jha and Jack Wang life was less fraught against Canadian adversaries, especially for Timothy Wang, the top seed.
He received a walk-over against Antoine Bernadet, the no.15 seed. Meanwhile, Kanak Jha accounted for Moxi Guo, the no.14 seed (11-7, 11-1, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5) and Jack Wang ended the hopes of Alexander Moran (11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6).
Disappointment for Canada but alongside Jeremy Hazin, Pierre-Luc Theriault, the no.2 seed and Filip Ilijevski, the no.7 seed, reserved last eight places.
Both beat colleagues; Pierre-Luc Theriault overcame Marko Medjugorac, the no.12 seed (11-9, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6), Filip Ilijevski accounted for Bryan Ho, the no.16 seed (11-2, 15-13, 11-8, 11-5).
At the quarterfinal stage Timothy Wang meets Jeremy Hazin, Jack Wang opposes Jimmy Butler; in the opposite half of the draw it is Kanak Jha versus Sharon Alguetti and Pierre-Luc Theriault in opposition to Filip Ilijevsi.
The Men’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Sunday September 6th.