(by Steve Hopkins)
USA Table Tennis conducted its first Challenge Series event last Thursday (July 30). The series has been dubbed “America’s First Virtual Table Tennis Challenge”, though the virtual aspects of the matches refer to the fan’s experience from home. The challenges will feature Thursday matches between US National Team members. The first match was between Top Feng and Kai Zhang. That match occurred at the Westchester Table Tennis Club in Pleasantville, New York.
The winner of the first Challenge Event was Kai Zhang. The two alternated early wins early with Feng winning the first and third game. The T2 time clock ran out at the end of the fourth game just as Feng won that game to go up 3-1. Under the T2 rules designed to press the speed of matches, after 24 minutes, scoring is first to 5 only (and throughout the match, games do not have to be won by 2 points). Zhang won all three of the shortened games to seal the win.
The next event in the series will be between Sharon Alguetti and Juan Liu. Tune in to USATT.org or USATT’s Facebook page to watch the match live this Thursday.