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Hendersonville, TN 37075 USA
The 2013 Decatur Table Tennis Open filled rather quickly as usual. The fact that Sameh Awadalla committed to defending his 2012 title, helped draw more players in to possibly see history. If he did win, it was going to be the first ever back to back champion is the history of the event. Standing in his way was Mississippi College student, Cheng Li as the top seed. Needless to say a large number of players who train at the Newgy Table Tennis Center in Gallatin, Tennessee with Sameh were among those who quickly sent in entries to cheer on Coach Sameh.
The event format divides the field, so every match is tough and that is one of the reasons the turnout is always so strong. Of the nine players from Newgy, six were in the upper tier (w/Sameh getting a 1st Round bye) and of those required to play the morning session, the only player to make the Championship round was Roger Dickson – the player in the middle of the ratings group. But that was the end of the line for coach Roger as only one advanced from group play in that round to the quarter-finals.
Of the remaining Division titles, players from the Newgy Table Tennis Center shined. Harrison Ngo, who was unhappy with his performance in Knoxville a few weeks ago, stepped up and won the Class BBB 1st place trophy and $90 check. After getting off to a bad start, Kyle Moyant found his rhythm and took his trophy back to Florida to finish his masters in engineering. The biggest surprise was Alex Lehocky pulling off multiple upsets to take home the Division AA 1st place crystal.
All the quarter final matches went as expected, with Barnabas Gonzalas getting the pleasure of facing the #1 player Cheng Li. While quite the experience and skill level gap existed, Barnabas went down fighting. On the other side it was 2011 Decatur Champion John Mar getting 2012 Decatur Champion Sameh Awadalla. With a steady short game, Sameh was able to force John into risks he usually doesn’t take and Sameh gets to the final in straight games.
After resetting the court for added space and a better view for the spectators, the final best 4/7 match had a recurring theme. Sameh started all but one game with a nice lead but by the end of the game, he found himself on the wrong side of the win column. Cheng Li gets the 4-0 win and the 2013 Decatur Open crown, but the two big questions remain - will he be back and can he be the first player ever to repeat as the Decatur Open Champion? See everyone in 2014!