Vladimir Samsonov Wins 2016 Butterfly LA Open
by Barbara Wei
In a league of his own, Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus, WR #9) effortlessly adds the 2016 Butterfly Los Angeles Open champion to his long and storied table tennis resume with a straight game win over 2015 LA Open champion Hou Ying Chao from China. The long anticipated offense vs. defense match drew over 2,000 spectators on the evening of September 5th where table tennis fans from around the southern California area gathered at the Los Angeles Badminton Club (El Monte, CA) to witness two table tennis legends compete.
Hou, former top 10 in the world and one of China’s best male defense players of all time, got off to an early start in the first game in the best of 7 match. With a 5-0 lead in game one, it briefly looked like Samsonov was in trouble. However, table tennis legends like Samsonov do not easily succumb to a slow start. A few well-placed pushes and loops later, Samsonov had already closed the gap to 4-6 before going on to win the game 11-8.
After game one, Hou looked visibly tired against Samsonov’s steady and relaxed forehand attacks. Rarely pushing after starting a looping rally in the next 3 games, Samsonov dominated and easily won the match 4-0.
$10,000 top prize for Samsonov as he returns to Europe to continue his professional table tennis career, joining teammate and 2012 & 2013 LA Open champion Dmitrij Ovtcharov (Germany, WR #4).