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To reach the top and stay on top, you cannot just throw your paddle on the table and expect magic to happen. It takes plenty of hard work! Thatï¿½s as true for organizations as it if for individuals. San Diego Table Tennis Association (SDTTA) proved that as local hosts for NATTï¿½s second tour stop of the season that they were willing to do the work which keeps that club in the top tier of clubs in America.
Jerry Harris, the current SDTTA President, and officers Priscilla Umel and Neil Smyth, and SDTTA resident coaches Stellan and Angie Bengtsson, were instrumental in pre-event logistics, marketing and publicity. The result was a gratifyingly large turnout of 225 players in the single best table tennis facility in America. JOOLA, the tournament sponsor, saw a gratifyingly brisk business at the Vendorï¿½s booth.
Tournament Referee, Linda Hsing, assisted by Esther Aliotta, Rueben Kairy, Saul Weinstein and Dr, Lee Kondo, did excellent work in overseeing the trouble-free competition. The players and spectators deserve credit as well for their excellent manners and prompt, complete adherence to policies of the tournament and the hall.
A player who certainly deserves credit is Brana Vlasic. Now 17 years old, Branaï¿½s hard work for the past several years has been paying off in recent months. Sheï¿½s definitely prospered under the tutelage of Stellan and Angieï¿½s program. Here she captured the U-18 Girls title in the Ying-Lo Junior Competition, the U-22 crown, and was runner-up in Womenï¿½s Singles to the stylish chopper, Soo Yeon Lee.
California stalwart Avishy Schmidt turned in a creditable performance, taking honors in the U-2375 by defeating David Umel, his round robin win over Elie Zainabudonova helping to propel him into that SE bracket. Elie came into some money herself, as runnerup to Hak Mook Lee in the U-2250. Look for a ratings jump for Josefino Felciano, who walked away as champion of both the U-1100 and U-1400 events.
Rob Van Lier entered his first USATT tournament with no rating, but this was no novice! Rob qualified for the second stage round robin in Open Singles and more than held his own, and proved that no fluke was involved by finishing second to US Olympian Khoa Nguyen in the Sol Feingold Memorial Over 40 Singles. Whatever they are teaching there in the Netherlands, I want some.
Thilina Piyadasa was a new player to us at NATT, but obviously not new to the sport or to the California cohort. Thilina defeated Misha Kasantzev in reaching the U-2500 Final, and gained the semifinals of Open Singles when he upset the tournamentï¿½s top seed, Ernesto Ebuen, in the Quarterfinals. A close to the table counter and block game was just the style for the man they call ï¿½TPï¿½. Even Champion Du Cheng Yi found it difficult to beat him with that approach, and switched to a mid-distance looping approach to avoid an upset himself.
Jeff Lin Huang, who will not turn 17 until this coming October, became the youngest player to ever reach a North American Tour Open Singles final. For a long time weï¿½ve been calling Jeff ï¿½a player to watchï¿½, but that is ended now. Jeff has definitely arrived. On Saturday he became the U-2500 Champion, beating Ben Johnson and Thilina Piyadasa on his way to that title. In Open Singles Jeff won his group, took out Khoa Nguyen and Ben Johnson a second time in a barnburner, before finally losing his only match of the tournament, the Open Singles final to Du Cheng Yi, 4 games to 2!
It was a wonderful tournament, all in all, and a good reminder that hard work is rewarded. SDTTA has worked hard on its programs and membership and has been rewarded with one of the best clubs in the country. The City of San Diego has worked hard on serving its citizens, and the result is one of Americaï¿½s premier table tennis venues. NATT has worked hard on tournament operation and been rewarded with a strong turnout and an appreciative participation. The players have worked hard on their games, and been rewarded with competitive matches, strong play, and pleasant memories of friendships made in sport. The JOOLA North American Tour will certainly be returning to San Diego in coming years, determined to continue making it work!
Open Singles – Final: Cheng Yi Du d. Lin Jeff Huang, 6,-6,4,-12,4,7; SF: Cheng d. Thilina Piyadasa, 3,-6,10,2,-3,3; Huang d. Ben Johnson, -8,5,9,-14,7,7; QF: Piyadasa d. Ernesto Ebuen, 3,-7,9,13,3; Cheng d. Hailong Shen, 8,9,5,4; Huang d. Khoa Nguyen, 7,9,9,2; Johnson d. Siliang Wang, 11,-5,4,6,10.
Open Preliminaries Group One: 1st Ernesto Ebuen Jr., 3-0 (d. Johnson, 8,-8,8,8,8; d. Le, 8,-8,-7,7,8,8; d. Zhang, 8,-7,8,7,8; 2nd Ben Johnson, 2-1 (d. Le, 8,8,8,-8,8; d. Zhang, -11,9,8,5,1); 3rd Tuan Dai Le, 1-2 (d. Zhang, -9,9,9,-9,9,-9,9; 4th Yahao Zhang, 0-3.
Group Two: 1st Siliang Wang, 3-0 (d. Piyadasa, 12,7,-8,10,7; d. Huang, 8,-6,9,7,-8,9; d. Lebovitz, 8,8,-6,9,-7,2); 2nd Thilina Piyadasa, 2-1 (d. Huang, -8,6,7,8,8; d. Leibovitz, -9,10,7,8,6); 3rd Zijao Huang, 1-2 (d. Leibovitz, 7,10,7,4); 4th Tahl Leibovitz, 0-3.
Group Three: 1st Cheng Yi Du, 3-0 (d. Nguyen, 5,5,7,9; d. S-Y Lee, 6,5,8,7; d. J. Lee, 6,7,7,5); 2nd Khoa Nguyen, 2-1 (d. S-Y Lee, -8,8,8,8,8; d. J. Lee, -9,9,-4,-4,8,8,9); 3rd Jacqueline Lee, 1-2 (d. S-Y Lee, def.); 4th Soo Yeon Lee, 0-3.
Group Four: 1st Lin Jeff Huang, 3-0 (d. Shen, 9,9,-6,9,-2,-3,9; d. C. Huang, -6,4,-8,6,12,-6,9; d. Van Lier, -7,-5,6,15,6,-10,4); 2nd HeLong Shen, 2-1 (d. C. Huang, 4,7,8,-9,7; d. Van Lier, 16,3,9,9); 3rd Crystal Huang, 1-2 (d. Van Lier, 10,6,-6,5,5); 4th Rob Van Lier, 0-3.
Women Singles – Final: Soo Yeon Lee d. Brana Vlasic, 5,5,1; SF: Lee d. Jacqueline Lee, 9,3,6; Vlasic-bye.
Under 2500 – Final: Lin Jeff Huang d. Thilina Piyadasa, 8,7,9,10; SF: Huang d. Ben Johnson, 9,7,9,-9,9; Piyadasa d. Misha Kazantsev, 7,7,8,3.
Under 2375 – Final: Avishy Schmidt d. David Umel Jr., 8,9,9; SF: Schmidt d. William Lin, 9,-9,-7,7,5; Umel d. Tuan Dai Le, 9,9,9.
Under 2250 – Final: Hak Mook Lee d. Elmira Zainabudinova, 5,9,-5,5; SF: Lee d. William Lin, -9,-3,-11,8,9,3,7; Zainabudinova d. Michael Landers, -7,-10,9,4,8,5.
Under 2125 – Final: Cesar Beraun d. Ronald Spencer, 10,10,-7,3; SF: Beraun d. Ernesto De Los Reyes, -4,10,6,11; Spencer d. Hong-Zhong Zhang, -9,10,10,9.
Under 2000 – Final: Marco Sanchez Jr. d. Ferdinand Trinidad, 7,-7,8,8; SF: Trinidad d. Rodel Valdoria, 5,9,7; Sanchez d. Sang Lien, 4,9,-9,-4,6.
Under 1850 – Final: Xiankun Yang d. Gayle Wickerd, -2,3,7,7; SF: Yang d. Jay Miller, 10,9,11; Wickerd d. Justin Nguyen, -8,6,9,5.
Under 1700 – Final: Mosel Y. Lan d. David Kelly, 8,-4,6,6; SF: Lan d. Alan Tanti, 5,6,5; Kelly d. Jerry Harris, 9,-4,-6,7,5.
Under 1550 – Final: Hongbin Wu d. Tony Wei, 8,7,-10,9; SF: Wu d. Cornelius Smyth, 9,9,-8,11; Wei d. Jorge Areliano, 8,6,9.
Under 1400 – Final: Josefino Feliciano Jr. d. Alan Lee, 4,-9,8,4,4; SF: Feliciano d. Kevin Wei, -8,7,8,-7,9,9; Lee d. William Cooper, 6,-8,9,12,13.
Under 1250 – Final: Daryl Sterling Jr. d. Kevin Wei, def. SF: Sterling d. Margit Plommer, 9,6,-7,11; Wei d. Dai Wu, -9,7,10,-8,5.
Under 1100 – Final: Josefino Feliciano Jr. d. Ronald Yu, 5,5,-0,4,8; SF: Feliciano d. Wesley Wei, 7,13,-9,8; Yu d. Hoyt May, -8,6,6,1,-9,4.
Under 950 – Final: Marissa Guidolin d. Ken Zheng, 5,-6,-3,8,9,3; SF: Guidolin d. Keenan Tanti, 7,9,9,9; Zheng d. Patrick Lam, 8,10,-9,-6,11,8.
Under 800/Unrated – Final: Stephen Schneid d. Ronald Yu, 5,9,13; SF: Schneid d. John Kolano, 6,9,-7,-6,7; Yu d. Andrew Nguyen, 7,5,-7,-9,6.
Under 4200 Doubles – Final: Jason Hoang/Ky Nguyen d. Thilina Piyadasa/Gregory Nguyen, 7,-11,7,8; SF: Hoang/Nguyen d. David Umel Jr./Sinisa Borko Dragojlovic, -9,-5,9,9,7; Piyadasa/Nguyen d. Si Tri Nguyen/Ben Johnson, 5,9,5.
Under 3200 Doubles – Final: David Davong/Suresh Kanekar d. Derrick Poon/Dai Wu, 2,-7,3,8; SF: Davong/Kanekar d. Noga Nir-Kistler/Pam Fontaine, 8,-8,7,6; Poon/Wu d. Albert Huang/Jessica Cheung, -5,2,-10,7,4.
Feingold Memorial Senior Events Over 40 – Final: Khoa Nguyen d. Rob Van Lier, 7,6,9; SF: Nguyen d. Avishy Schmidt, 8,-8,7,6; Van Lier d. William Lin, 6,7,4.
Over 50 – Final: Aireza Hejazi d. Sung Yang, -8,3,4,0,9,-9,-9,7; SF: Yang d. Bill Ukapatayasakul, 6,8,10,7.
Over 60 – Final: Bill Ukapatayasakul d. Bill Ryan, 5,4,9; SF: Ukapatayasakul d. Chuan Robert Liu, 9,7,-6,-8,9; Ryan d. Frank Fu, 3,2,5.
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 22 Men Final RR: 1st Heiling Shen, 3-0; 2nd Yahao Zhang, 2-1; 3rd Jordan Joelson Fisher, 1-2; 4th Arakis Ordthahi Vartkes.
Under 22 Women Final RR: 1st Brana Vlasic, 4-0; 2nd Natalie Sun, 3-1; 3rd Erica Wu, 2-2; 4th Ellen Hwang, 1-3; Charleen Hsieh, 0-4.
Under 18 Boys – Final: Zijao Huang d. Yahao Zhang, 5,11,-8,-6,3,-9,8.
Under 18 Girls – Final: Brana Vlasic d. Erica Wu, 7,-8,6,9,8. Under 16 –
Final: Anand Engineer d. Bryan Simcox, -8,9,10,-5,10,9. Under 13 Boys –
Final: Justin Nguyen d. Jonathan Ou, 5,6,10,-8,7; SF: Ou d. Alan Tanti, 10,9,4,-9,6; Nguyen-bye.
Under 13 Girls – Final: May Chang d. Lisa Divita, 7,5,5,10.
Under 10 Final RR: 1st Aidan Kahng, 2-0; 2nd Newman Cheng, 1-1; 3rd Seant Minassian, 0-2