Over the weekend, we hosted our 2018 July Open Tournament. 61 players competed in a variety of events, including U1000, U1500, U1850, U2050, and a 51-Point Handicap fun event.
The U1000 was an odd event this time around. Of the 8 players that entered, only 3 came in with a USATT rating, guaranteeing that they would all end up on the podium. However, this didn’t stop anyone from competing their hardest. The three prize-eligible players were only separated by a total of 28 points. Top seed Bryce Milford (824) was able to take out #3 seed Risheetha Bhagawatula (796) in three straight games. Second seed Weiguo Jiang (822) did the same, giving Risheetha 3rd place and setting up the final match of the day to determine 1st and 2nd. In the end, Weiguo’s unique combination of long pips on a penhold blade was too much for Bryce, and Weiguo claimed the gold. Congratulations Weiguo!
The U1850 filled up with 24 players, creating 4 groups of six players each. This event had three no-shows, including the overall top seed, which definitely changed the landscape of the event. Young Jason Piech (1347) from Arkansas came all the way from the 4th position in his group to advance out. The top seeds in groups 2-4 all went undefeated and went on to the single elimination stage. In the quarterfinals, half were upsets and half went according to rating. Jason Piech continued his strong play, taking out Jason Hodak (1570) in the minimum 3 games. Rachel Wang (1554) also shook things up, beating Cheng Lin (1646) three straight games to get into the semis. Jason went up against the unorthodox play of Allan Anzagira (1686). Though every game he lost was at deuce, Jason couldn’t quite get over the hump and fell in 4, and finding himself fighting for 3rd place. Rachel was matched up against Xiaofeng Zhu (1769), the overall #2 seed. Frank (Xiaofeng) fought hard against Rachel, as each player traded games in order. Rachel was able to force a fifth game, but the pattern continued, as Frank won the odd games and the match. The end result was a 3rd place match with Jason and Rachel, as Frank and Allan battled for the top spot. Jason was able to hold Rachel off just long enough, winning in 4 and claiming the bronze. In the finals, Frank quickly found himself down 2-0, but never gave up. After winning the 3rd game, and scraping by in the 4th 12-10, Frank gave Allan a drubbing in the fifth and took the gold (-9,-5,4,10,2). Congratulations Frank!
In the U1500 event, a full field of 18 was divided into three groups. All three groups had the top two seeded players advance to the knockout stage. Paul Caparatta (1292) upset the order in his group, earning himself a first-round bye and going straight to the semifinals. Yanyu Xie (1390) won group #2 and also got to bypass a quarterfinals match. Jason Piech went up against Deepak Kulkarni (1325) and got through with a 3-1 victory. David DeMay (1498) won a tight match against his quarterfinals opponent Bowie Martin Sr. (1347) to punch his ticket into the semis against Yanyu. In semi #1, Paul found himself in a battle with Jason, each winning a game at deuce before getting to the 5th. In the end, Jason was able to edge it out, sending Paul to the consolation match and himself to the gold medal match. In semifinal #2, David’s long pips went up against Yanyu’s short pips, and the long came out on top. The finals put the young and fearless Jason, riding the confidence from his success earlier in the day, against the seasoned veteran David. Jason lost the first game 15-13, then they went back and forth, forcing a fifth game to decide the champion. Jason forced the issue and took the fifth game handily, 11-2. Congratulations Jason!
The U2050 event grew considerably just hours before the start time, going from 16 to 24 players. 4 groups of six players each competed in an effort to be one of two to advance out of the round robin stage. All four top seeds went undefeated and advanced without a hiccup. Two #3 seeds upset the #2 seeds in their groups to earn spots in the quarterfinals. Lev Goldstein (1643) clawed back from a 2-0 deficit against Logan Rietz (1789) and won a nail-biter fifth game to advance (-9,-4,5,11,10). Anav Gupta (1637) was as consistent as ever, taking down Bella Xu (1798) 3-1 to disturb the balance in his group. The first elimination round went to all of the favorites, though Brandon Moody (1776) and Lev both went the distance and made their higher-ranked opponents earn it. In the semis, Jerred Miklowcic (1916) looked to get his first win against Cameron Smith (1961) from Charlotte. However, it was not meant to be, as Cameron handled his business and forced Jerred into the consolation match in three quick games. In semi #2, Tony Ma (1931) squared off against Moustapha Nasser (1927), both of whom play in the Triangle Table Tennis Division 1 League on Friday nights. In league, Tony has a slight edge in record against Moustapha, but this time Tony left no question, winning 3-0 and punching his ticket to the finals. In the 3rd place match, Moustapha won by default. In a rematch of last month’s U2100 Finals, Cameron and Tony met again. Tony won their only two previous matches, but Cameron was on a path to redemption. After losing both of the last matches against Tony in 5, Cameron came out strong and never let it get that far. Cameron got his revenge with a 3-0 victory (8,8,6) and a gold medal. Congratulations Cameron!
The fun event this month was the 51-Point Handicap event. This 16-player double elimination event evens the playing field for everyone by handicapping each match according to rating. The biggest spot anyone had to give was the maximum (43 points!!) when coach Gregg Robertshaw faced off against Richard Frye. Gregg withstood the pressure and was able to take the match 51-49! However, as usually happens with handicapped events, the advantage is on the side of the lower-rated players. The finals saw Rohan Tumkur (731) from Tennessee go up against Roy Everman (670). Roy started with 5 points, but match was only decided by 2 points, as Rohan held off Roy and took the top prize without dropping a single game. Congratulations Rohan!
To see more pictures from the tournament, check out our Facebook album.
To watch matches from the tournament, go to our YouTube page.