August 5th and 6th, 2006
Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
This venerable Four Star, an annual jewel in the STIGA North American Tour, had excitement, great attendance, fun and a noteworthy and historic outcome. For what else could you ask? Held in the Werblin Recreation Center of Rutgers University, the tournament, sponsored by Table Tennis Pioneers, Gerflor and Senoda, attracted 222 participants who competed under the supervision of Referee Pat Collins. Collins earned his keep by adjudicating the entire field for two days, enforcing dress codes, settling disputes and ruling on whether or not a match had been played voluntarily and should be ratings eligible. It was the sort of work that makes you grateful for USATT Officials and reminds us that there is more to that job than a great seat at the Finals.
What a finals it was, too! For the first time in STIGA Tour history, a woman won the Open Singles Title! Wang Chen played magnificently in shattering the ‘glass ceiling’ to become the first woman to take the big check since the series began in 2000. Shaking off whatever impact her upset loss in Women’s Singles at the US Open may have had, she was a perfect 6 and 0 in the Open here, disposing of Xavier Therien, Samson Dubina, Li Yuxiang and Gao Yan Jun in her arch to the top. Her backhand play was especially strong and consistent in capturing the title match. She made it a double dip by defeating Lily Yip to take the Women’s title as well.
Lim Ming Chui had a wonderful tournament as well, reaching the Open Singles Second Stage RR groups as a qualifier, placing second in the Over 40 to Li Yuxiang, and defeating Simon Shtofmakher for the Over 50 crown. Gary Gudzenko is still amazingly spry and made the Over 60 title his against Edward Watts in a tight match to complete the slate of Sol Feingold Memorial Senior Events.
Robert Roberts is an attractive and stylish player, and his U-2500 final against Shawn Embleton was a real barnburner! Scores of -12, 9, 10,8,-5,6 can only begin to indicate the high level play here. It’s obvious that Shawn has definitely elevated his play of late as he also captured the U-4200 doubles with his partner Chip Saxe and defeated Raghu Nadmichettu in 7 games for the U-2375 title. For his part, Raghu was seemingly everywhere! In addition to the match above, he came second in U-4200 doubles with Evan Anderson, defeated Canada’s Joji Yamazaki 11-3 in the 7th for U-22 Men’s honors, and made the Open Singles Second Stage RR as a qualifier where Shawn Embleton hung a second loss on him, 13-11 in the 7th. All together, Raghu added 47 ratings points at this tournament, losing only to three players, Samson Dubina, Gao Yan Jun and Shawn Embleton, although Shawn got him three different times! Shawn split his two matches with Samson Dubina and established himself as a solid 2400 player.
Kevin Kuznetzow found himself second in two categories of the Ying-Lo Junior competitions, the U-16 going to Kevin Ma and the U-18 to Joseph Wang. Angel Alicea similarly found himself two finalist trophies, in the U-1250 where he lost to Michael Malone and the U-1100 where Ashley Futrell Jr.overcame a 20-18 first game setback to win in six. Ashley Futrell III posted a seven game triumph against Spencer Friend to win the U-800 title and give them two trophies for the trip home.
The tournament was enlivened by sharing table space on Sunday with Barry Dattel’s ZhiYu Cup Teams competition and by the presence of the irrepressible Lily Yip, the STIGA vendor for the tournament. Lily made hot clamshell meals available, a service greatly appreciated by the hard-playing attendees. Chris, Tom, Matt and I served as registration and control desk staff. As we loaded the STIGA Expert tables for the trip home, we reflected on the continued support the playing community has shown NATT events and the historic victory we had witnessed. On to California and the remaining events of the 2006 STIGA North American Tour for us! And sweet dreams of points gained and lost for our playing faithful.
Open Singles: Wang Chen d. Gao Yan Jun; 7,-7,9,10,7 ; Gao Yan Jun d. Robert Roberts 8,3,9,8 ; Wang Chen d. Li Yuxiang , 2, (withdrew due to injury in second game) ; Gao Yan Jun d. Xavier Therien, 12,8,3,6 ; Robert Roberts d. Wally Green, 7,-9,6,3,8 ; Wang Chen d. Samson Dubina, -3,5,5,5,5; Li Yuxiang d. Shao Yu, 6,-3,9,6,-10,-9,7.
2006 Eastern Open on the 2006 Stiga North American Tour
Gao Yan Jun
|Women's RR||Wang Chen||Lily Yip|
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 22 Men's RR
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 18 Boys RR
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions Under 16 Boys RR
Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Boys RR
|Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U13 Girls RR||Nicole Jankura||Tina Lin|
|Ying/Lo Junior Competitions U10 Boys RR||Brian Qiu||Andrew Chen|
Feingold Memorial Over 40 RR
Li Yu Xiang
Lim Ming Chui
|Feingold Memorial Over 50 RR||Lim Ming Chui||Simon Shtofmakher|
|Feingold Memorial Over 60 RR||Gary Gudzenko||Edward Watts|
Under 2500 SE
Under 2375 RR
Under 2250 RR
Under 2125 RR
Under 2000 RR
Under 1850 RR
Under 1700 RR
Under 1550 RR
Under 1400 RR
Under 1250 RR
Under 1100 RR
Under 950 RR
Under 800/Unrated RR
Under 4200 Doubles SE
Shawn Embleton & Chip Saxe
Raghu Nadmichettu & Evan Anderson
Under 3200 Doubles SE
Robert Abrameto & Daniel Flores
Keith Tademy & Jim Rutowski