Our 2018 Butterfly Southeastern Open Giant Round Robin took place last week on 19 -21 October. Players travelled all throughout the United States and even Canada to come to Triangle Table Tennis to participate in our second largest tournament of the year. Players came in with anticipation, enthusiasm, and zeal to give it their best shot at some prize money. For sure lots of fun and healthy competition resulted in giving us another satisfying weekend here in Morrisville, NC. Our events on Friday 10/19/2018 were the U1800 and 1800 & Over. On Saturday 10/20/2018 was the start of our main event, the Giant Round Robin which lasted through Sunday. Finally, on Sunday 10/21/2018 we finished with our U1650 event.
The U1800 consisted of 5 groups of 6 people for round 1. The top two in each group would advance and face off in the second round to seek treasure and perhaps get the gold. We had a surprising 5 participants over 1700; we were sure to see one of them on the top of the podium claiming first place. No genie in a bottle came bearing victory for any underdogs that night. On the other hand, the lowest rated 1700 player was Changbo Lu (1705) and as a kid he had to overcome many adults over 1700, who had much more experience than him. Changbo fought unquestionably hard and made it through the first round which put him on his way to battle more tough competitors to reach the top. He won his first two matches in the second round against Todd Klinger (1713) and Phil Dadzie (1773). Changbo had made it to the finals and was up against Oscar Galavis (1789) who was the top seeded player for this event. Changbo put on a show and with his style and power he beat Oscar 3-0. Great Job and excellent playing Changbo!
The 1800 & Over had a total of 12 players, which was broken down into 2 groups of 6. This was sure to be an interesting night as the “Lion” was in town. Yes, I am talking about the one and only Jishan Liang (2645) and he was ready to collect his prize money. Would there be any surprises on that night? Would Jishan be handed defeat? Hahaha! The answer is simply not a chance! Jishan handled his group with ease and did not even lose a one game. In the other group, the second top seeded player, Rajat Hubli (2495) looked pretty good himself and won all his matches without even losing a single game as well. Jishan and Rajat would face off in the lion’s den for the finals. The only problem is there was only one lion present. Yes, the results were expected and Jishan blew right through Rajat without even breaking a sweat and now enjoys the spoils of war. Jishan you did very well, thanks for making our event pleasant and enjoyable! Please come back and perhaps we will find some more lions to compete against you!
The U1650 consisted of 4 groups of 6 players where the top 2 in each group would advance to the next round. The second round was single elimination, so the pressure started to increase on the participants; as they would have to continue winning in order to get first place and receive the big money. Most players in this event were lower rated and only 3 of them had a rating above 1600. If I were a betting man I would have put my money on one of the 1600 rated players to have made it to the top. It is a good thing that I am not a betting man. There were quite a few kids who participated and they showed how much they truly love table tennis. So much passion and effort as they fought their way through some tough players. Let’s first talk about the fight for the bronze. Bryce Milford (1180) who had earlier beat Ralph Guillory (1541), would face Kenai Rios (1336) for bronze. Kenai also known as the “Wall” won with an exciting victory over Bryce who was no push over. Bryce and Kenai will continue to improve quickly and give other players a tough match, so watch out everyone! This brings us to the final match. Would youth win out over one of the top seeds? Danny Wan (1361) had beaten Jared Mckiernan (1608) already earlier and now had to face him again. Jared came more prepared and started off strong as he won the first two games convincingly. Jared only needed one more game to secure first place. Danny was feeling a lot of pressure but was able to win the next couple games, making it 2-2. In game 5, Danny’s momentum proved to be to strong and he pulled out a great victory! Thanks Danny for your demonstration of never giving up and fighting till the end!
The Giant Round Robin was broken into 4 different divisions after the preliminary rounds were completed to determine which players would go into what groups. We had 4 divisions that consisted of 15 players and each division had two groups of 7 or 8 players. The top two in each group would advance to the next round for a chance to win their division.
The Giant RR “Division D” had some great matches especially as we got to the semifinals. Roman Potapov (1250) played against Rick Merced (1082) and they took turns beating each other, but in the fifth game Roman prevailed and was again on his way to the finals. Tianyi Zhou (1267) faced off against Phil Dulin (1578) and with over a 300 point rating difference he was sure to have a tough time. Phil had Tianyi on the ropes as he handed him his first two losses. Tianyi came with ninja intensity and pulled out the next two games, making it 2-2. Game 5 went back and forth and in the end Tianyi used his ninja skills to win as he flew to the finals to battle with Roman. Would the ninja prevail against the bearded wonder? Roman who fought like a Soldier, yet is actually a complete gentleman, was able to fight off the ninja skills of Tianyi. Roman won 3-1 with a great victory and conquered Division D in style! Thanks Roman for yet another great tournament and maintaining a great attitude that always leaves a lasting impression!
Division C came with a few interesting twists and turns as the two groups battled away. Emily Sang (1558) did the best in round 1 of Division C as she went 7-0 and even defeated the top seed Anav Gupta (1698) easily as she prevailed 3-0 against him. The top 4 advanced in each group which gave more players another chance to fight for the first position and be on top of the podium. Anav had no fear as he swept through his opponents and was waiting to see who he would have to play in the finals. MS. Undefeated Emily faced off against Mr. Long Pips Raga Avanasi (1501) in the quarterfinals. It was close as they exchanged blows to one another. It came to game 5 and Raga proved to be too much for Emily as he defeated her 13-11. Raga’s great victory must have fired him up as he won 3-0 in the semifinals against Radha Kanchanapelly (1618). Anav, “the Smiley Fearless One”, approached the table to play against Raga, “Mr. Long Pips” in the finals. Anav was not afraid of pips and he showed us by conquering Mr. Long Pips with ease. You can never get enough of Anav! Congratulations Anav for your consistent play and enthusiasm, you did very well!
The B Division was very competitive as many players’ ratings were close; and no one came whizzing through with easy wins. Ajai Singh (1721) was up against Roberto Morales (1804) in the semifinals. They thrashed at each other, but Roberto overpowered Ajai. Roberto won 3-1 and advanced to the finals. Rachel Wang (1657) stood up against David Pannell (1639) in the other semifinals match. This match was much closer as they took turns beating each other and went all the way to game 5. In the end David was able to overcome the young and talented Rachel as the final game’s score was 11-7. In the finals for B division David faced off against Roberto who was blindingly fast with his quick reactions and footwork. Yet, David was not phased and came into the match like a machine with a victor’s mindset. He attacked the ball with a vengeance and easily overcame the speedster. Congratulations David for earning your prize money and taking it back home with pride!
The A Division, containing the top players, was quite exciting as all eyes watched the games unfold. Let’s highlight one special match which took place in the quarterfinals. Tony Ma (2025) battled against Cameron Smith (1955) while their game was being livestreamed. The added pressure of being livestreamed was not able to shake Tony’s focus. Tony came out with 2 big wins and only needed 1 more game to close out the match and advance to the semifinals. Yet, Cameron made some masterful adjustments and won the next 2 games making it a very memorable match. In game 5, they continued to go back and forth eventually finding themselves at deuce. Cameron proved he could keep calm and continue to play his game under the pressure which ended up being too much for Tony to handle. Cameron claimed both the game and the match which moved him on to the semifinals. Jishan “The Lion” Liang (2645) was back in town and ready to feast on all who stood in his way. Jishan devoured all players in round 1 without losing even 1 game. The Lion had no need to roar, all he needed was to be present. Let’s zero in on a special game as our very own coach Rachid El Boubuo (2438) faced off against Jishan “the Lion” Liang in the semifinals. Jishan approached the table with almost a yawn and with complete confidence in his ability and believed he had no need to work hard for his victory. Rachid sprinted to the table and with absolute focus and precision handed Jishan his one and only game loss of the day. However this forced Jishan to wake up and he roared his way to winning the next 3 games and advancing to the finals. Rajat Hubli (2495) went through his competition fairly easily and now had to face the lion. Rajat gave it his all and almost won the first game, but lost to Jishan 13-11. Jishan then won the rest of the games in a simple fashion with the final score being 4-0. The Lion claimed his prize and went back to His den with enough to feast on until his next chance to roar again to victory. Great show Jishan and congratulations on your impeccable play!