2005 Stiga Open

Lafayette College was a wonderful host to this tournament, providing free ice water and a wonderful air conditioned playing space on a brutally hot weekend. About one hour from New York City, Easton PA seems well sited to serve the whole Northeastern table tennis community. The tournament hotel, however, was not so wonderful, having failed to inform us that they’d had a flood this spring, and surprising all their guests with cold showers on Sunday morning. So while we look forward to returning for the Lafayette Open in October, there will definitely be a new tournament hotel. Become a registered user and read more!
 
Hopefully all the same players will be back with reinforcements, because they were, without exception, wonderful to deal with, a really good crew. Good talking with Martin Theil, who is pictured in the latest Tim Boggan ‘History of Table Tennis’. Martin, at one time #38 in the US, now aims to have his name appear in the Top 15 lists on the senior rankings. He gave us some excellent advice, noting that the Elizabeth, PA airport was a good alternative to those listed on the entry blank. I think Martin, in addition to winning the Feingold Memorial Over 60 event, got off the line of the weekend. “Wonderful tournament, guys, but one word of advice? Lose the hotel!” Nothing but gratitude from this quarter either for Ref Terri Bell and volunteer umpires Chris Lehman and Larry Bavly.

Exceptional performances included Chris Watson’s, who double-dipped in the U-1250 and U-1100, taking first place in both. No tears either for the Friend family of New Hampshire, when father Todd took second in the U-1250, sister MacKenzie placed second in the Girls U-13, brother Spencer won the U-800 and the rapidly improving Chance Friend won a hard-fought final in the U-1700. Sara Yuen is always a pleasure. The young Canadian is unfailingly polite and courteous and one hell of a player. She and Larry Bavly really lit it up in the Final of the U-2250, with Sara taking a 13-11 win in the 7th game! Her countryman Shen Quiang was amazing to watch. All he did was defeat Derek Wong (twice!) to win the Ying/Lo Junior categories of U-22 and U-18 and win a seven-gamer to take the U-2500 title away from Vladislav Boyarskiy! In fact, he gave Barney Reed and Atanda Musa all they could handle in his Open Singles Round Robin Group as well!

The Canadians were very much in evidence, as Homayoun Kamkar-Parsi, Pradeeban Peter-Paul and Xavier Therien came through into the Open Singles Quarterfinals. Xavier made a really strong statement by hanging a loss on the tournament’s Top Seed, Women’s Champ Wang Chen, in the Second Stage Round Robin. That made the QF pairings Therien vs. Gao Yan Jun, Kamkar-Parsi vs. Atanda Musa, Adam Hugh vs. Wang Chen, Barney Reed vs. Pradeeban Peter-Paul.

Xavier Therien vs. Gao Yan Jun

As mentioned, the Canadian with the strong off-the-table loop had upset Wang Chen in his Round Robin group. His ‘reward’ was to be paired with Wang Chen’s friend from Germany, Gao Yan Jun in the Quarterfinals. Xavier managed the first game, 11-6, but experience has shown that first game results are not much of an indicator with Gao. Patiently learning his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, he then exploits them later in the match. This was a great match to watch, both men being very physical in their play and showing plenty of movement. But Gao emerged in five games, despite Xavier’s great effort, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

Homayoun Kamkar-Parsi vs. Atanda Musa

Kamkar-Parsi is a real annoyance. His close to the table play and rapid responses, his high-intensity glare and compact playing style put pressure, both tactical and mental on his opponent. Atanda Musa doesn’t have much of a reputation as a laid-back player, either! So not much of a surprise here that both men requested an umpire before their match ever began. No disappointment either. ‘Homie’s’ short game and sudden openers were matched with Musa’s powerful forehand. Kamkar-Parsi had the better of it in the first game, 11-5, but Musa was determined to put him away. It wasn’t until the fourth game though that he won through, dropping the second at 9 and a 13-11 loss in the third before lowering an 11-7 boom. Kamkar-Parsi was unshaken, however, and 11-8 in the fifth, advanced. Musa had his Over-40 money as some consolation, but was visibly irritated at not having won this match.

Adam Hugh vs. Wang Chen

Wang Chen’s loss to Xavier dropped her into the opposite bracket to face Hugh, who landed first in his Round Robin. But match time approached, and Wang Chen didn’t. Gao Yan Jun told us that a pesky back injury had nagged Wang Chen out of the competition. Spectators were disappointed to not see the two play, as local interest in the outcome was high. Nothing much memorable about a default!
Barney Reed vs. Pradeeban Peter-Paul

Peter-Paul has shown visible improvements in the past year, winning his first North American Tour title and displaying more consistent power play at each event. It’s not Barney’s good luck to step into this buzz saw, and for the first three games he acquits himself well, although Praddy is always just a couple shots better, a few points to the good. In the fourth, the wind goes out of Barney’s sails and he has to settle for a Quarterfinalist’s money, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, and 11-3.

Semifinals
Gao Yan Jun vs. Homayoun Kamkar-Parsi

As usual, Gao drops the first game, this time 11-5. But this match will seesaw all the way to the end. Gao tries dragging Kamkar-Parsi wide, and the lefty uses every tactic he knows to make Homie cover more court, back off the table. Kamkar-Parsi’s service game is excellent, and his heart is very big, a very determined player, more likely to dive for a ball than to stand flat-footed and watch it sail away. Gao takes the second 11-5, Kamkar-Parsi strikes back 11-9 in the third. Gao seems to open up the door for his victory 11-8 and then a convincing 11-3 in the fifth to go in front 3 games to 2. But as I stated, no quit in Kamkar-Parsi! 11-8 and the two are tied three apiece. But there isn’t enough left in the tank to stand up to Gao’s withering attack, and 11-6 in the seventh game, he wins the Semifinal and makes himself the first of our two Finalists.

Adam Hugh vs. Pradeeban Peter-Paul

Finally the New Jersey element gets its chance to cheer for Adam, and shot by shot he gives them plenty to cheer! There’s no denying the skill, the dash, the fine shot-making of Adam Hugh. The problem is, and this throws a damper on his supporters, it just isn’t quite enough. Praddy, 11-9. Praddy 11-7, Praddy, 11-9. But trailing in the fourth game, Adam puts pedal to the medal, and talking himself through it, takes the fourth game in deuce, 12-10. Having finally given his ‘peeps’ a rallying point, Praddy takes it away 11-4 in the fifth and final game.
Championship Match

Pradeeban Peter-Paul vs. Gao Yan Jun

Only two players were now left in the quest for the biggest check, the title of STIGA Open Champ and the glory of ‘Final Victory’. I had to feel good to see two gentlemen involved in that match, as both Gao and Peter-Paul had been ‘trouble-free’ participants. This final also marked the deepest penetration Gao had ever mustered at a STIGA NA Tour Stop. So there was some satisfaction as well in knowing he’d have his biggest payday yet, as both players were assured of at least the $800 Finalist’s prize. Naturally though, both men were aiming for the $2,000 one! Only two players were now left in the quest for the biggest check, the title of STIGA Open Champ and the glory of ‘Final Victory’. I had to feel good to see two gentlemen involved in that match, as both Gao and Peter-Paul had been ‘trouble-free’ participants. This final also marked the deepest penetration Gao had ever mustered at a STIGA NA Tour Stop. So there was some satisfaction as well in knowing he’d have his biggest payday yet, as both players were assured of at least the $800 Finalist’s prize. Naturally though, both men were aiming for the $2,000 one!

It didn’t take long for Pradeeban Peter-Paul to claim it, as he triumphed in straight games, by scores of 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 and 11-8. Over the past 18 months, Pradeeban’s game has definitely taken a step forward. To me, he seems more confident, to have increased his stamina, and perhaps thinned down slightly, maybe five to ten pounds lighter than he was in 2003. His power is undiminished, but he makes wiser choices of tactics and has a faith in himself at crucial moments that might have been suspect before. From the Quarterfinals on, Pradeeban Peter-Paul dropped only one game, a 12-10 loss to Adam Hugh, in his march to the title.

We look forward to October 22nd and 23rd, and our return to this same venue

2005 Stiga Open On The 2005 Stiga North American Tour

Event Name

Champion

Finalist

Open Singles

Pradeeban Peter-Paul

Gao Yan Jun

Women’s RR

Wang Chen

Wennin Chiu

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 22 Men’s RR

Shen Qiang

Derek Wong

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 18 Boys RR

Shen Qiang

Derek Wong

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 16 Boys RR

Briant Won

Wesley Fan

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 16 Girls RR

Janice Lan

 
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Boys RR

Michael Landers

Vikash Sahu

Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Girls RR

Annie Guo MacKenzie Friend
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U10 RR

Allen Wang

Daniel Liang

Feingold Memorial Over 40 RR

Atanda Musa

Barry Dattel

Feingold Memorial Over 50 RR

Lim Ming Chui

David Sakai

Feingold Memorial Over 60 RR

Martin J. Theil III

Fred E. Kistler

Under 2500 SE

Shen Qiang

Vladislav Boyarkiy

Under 2375 RR

John Mark Wetzler

Raghu Nadmichettu

Under 2250 RR

Sara Yuen

Larry Bavly

Under 2125 RR

Derek Wong

Jens Kaftan

Under 2000 RR

Satrajit(Sam) Mookherjee

Jonathan Chu

Under 1850 RR

Jens Kaftan

Donald Feltenberger

Under 1700 RR

Chance Friend

Aoyagi Yasuhiro

Under 1550 RR

Rajan Kumar

Tianyou Xu

Under 1400 RR

Quang Chia

Michael Haynes

Under 1250 RR

Chris Watson

Todd Friend

Under 1100 RR

Chris Watson

Annie Guo

Under 950 RR

Michael Van Hoy

Casey J. MacClaren

Under 800/Unrated RR

Spencer Friend,

Allen Wang

Under 4200 Doubles SE

John Mark Wetzler & Donald Feltenberger

Larry Bruce Hodges & Julian Waters

U 3200 Doubles SE

Murali Manohar & Anthony Falcone

Fred E. Kistler & Fred Bomberger