2012 Columbus Table Tennis Open – Roger Dickson

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When you see a 2360 rated USATT player seeded #6 in the Open event, you know there are some quality points going to be played! That is exactly what happened this past weekend, Sept. 8, 2012, as Sameh Awadallah – the mentioned 2360 player - was surprised to see the top two players in Canada had entered in this two star event so far from Toronto’s Canadian National Table Tennis Training Center.

The Columbus Table Tennis Open had 11 players, so it was divided into a group of five and a group of six. Group One featured Wang (Eugene) Zhen - current U.S. Open Champion and 2012 Canadian Olympic team member and Newgy sponsored Samson Dubina - several time U.S. National team member and Ohio state champion. Group Two had the 19 year old young gun from Canada, Hongtao Chen, 18 year old Gregor Surnin, the reigning German Junior National Champion and the Newgy Table Tennis Center’s Sameh Awadallah.

Wang Zhen dispatched everyone 3-0 very efficiently, while Samson fought through two lower seeded players 3-1! Group Two had even more fireworks as Sameh upset the German national 3-0 and managed a game from Hongtao to finish second in group play. Gregor knew he had to win against Hongtao to even have a chance and put a great effort out just to be over powered by the speedy forehand Hongtao unleashed to wide angles!

The Open Semi -Finals found a game Samson battling Hongtao to a 4-2 loss and Wang Zhen having to use way more of his power than he wanted to get through Sameh 4-0! Several people watching were amazed that Sameh could re-attack any ball from the backhand side and would actually bait Wang Zhen to attack to the backhand so he could counter attack!

As the U-2400 had started, the Open final was played first and Hongtao just never seemed to find a gear that was near Wang Zhen. As practice partners, these two know each others’ games very well and the top 100 in the World ranked Zhen put his experience and knowledge to good use in a 4-0 rout! Samson and Sameh played as soon as the Final was completed and though up 3-1, Sameh just could not find enough energy to complete the upset! Samson made the home crowd happy with a well played, comeback win and took the third place check!

Sameh and Gregor made short work of their groups and semi-finalists to meet in the 2400 final. Much like the Open Semi -Finals, Sameh took the first two games easily and just could not get the young German Champion to fold as Gregor battled back to get the win!

Many thanks to CTTC’s Greg Brendon & Jan Lei and Ed Hogshead (CR) from Rockford, Illinois for running such a timely and seamless event! It was nice for me to have a room with a Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot set up right at the front of the building to warm up on between matches. I enlightened quite a few people as to how quick and efficient warming up before a match is with the Robo-Pong.

Roger Dickson

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