The Pensacola 13th Annual Winter Table Tennis Open

Newgy Robo-Pong

With the U.S. Table Tennis Team Trials coming up in a few weeks, Coach Sameh advised me to get in some “pressure” matches in actual competition. So I convinced training partners Yevgeniy “Yev” Puzreyev and Slawomir “Swavik” Waclawic to head down to Pensacola, Florida with me this past weekend.

While Florida sounds nice in January, this is the second time I have attended and had to face “record” cold in Northwest Florida! I think it is a message for me to suffer through the chilly Tennessee winter! It did get into the 60’s on Sunday, but the event was Saturday and the gym was very cool all day long – even with several hotly contested matches in the Open!

Cheng Li, ranked at 2615, was several levels above the rest of the players and defeated Carlos Ko in the Open final 3-0. The real battles in the Open involved the same player – 2267 John Beaumont from New Orleans. In the Semi-final John had taken a game from Cheng Li and upset Tulane student and Killerspin sponsored Kang Kang Huang for 3rd place. Kang Kang plays a very Chinese women’s game, fast and very precise. Tulane and the whole New Orleans table tennis crowd should get stronger with her in the area!

As for myself, I had finished my qualifying group as seeded - 3rd. I played well against the two players above me, but am still struggling with some new technical changes in my game. Finishing in 3rd placed me in the “B” division; I did lose one game in my round robin group and advanced to the final. My opponent had upset all three players as the lowest seed and may have used all his energy in doing so as I finished with a 3-1 win!

Swavik and I battled to the Open Doubles Final! We executed well in the first to win that game but then the net odds turned against us and though we battled back from an ugly start in games 2 and 3, we just couldn’t overcome the three teammates across from us- Cheng Li /Herb Bennet and the NET!

Many thanks to LA Johnston and Joe Mozur for running a tight event and getting us out at a very good time! We missed the dinner rush, but still got to eat before seven! Below is the link for the complete event report: click here to view the Pensacola 13th Annual Winter Open Tournament Report

Roger Dickson

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