Thursday, 18 October 2012

Young Star Claims First Senior Title

Liam Young's journey to claiming the B Grade men's title at the 2012 NZ Senior Champs started with intruiging fashion. James Harter's loss to Phillip Sha 3-2 in his group left the field wide open for anything to happen. Liam took James to 5 sets and lost, but with a 3-0 win over Phillip Sha and a 3 way countback in the group, it was Liam who went through first, with James following in 2nd.

Liam Young wins B Grade
Image Courtesy of Murray Finch
Victor Ma and Malcolm Lowe also produced upsets to qualify 1st in their groups. James Harter was the first of the top 4 seeds to fall from grace, losing in four sets in the round of 16 to Hoa Ngo. Craig Dye and Ben Collins made easy work of their opponents in the quarterfinals. Victor Ma beat Hoa Ngo 3-1 while Liam Young beat Matt Hetherington in straight sets. 

Craig Dye had a scary rematch of his open group in the B Grade semifinals against Victor Ma, and in similar fashion it went down to the wire again. The end result 12-10 in the 5th set for Craig Dye. Meanwhile Liam Young had started to turn heads, holding a 2-1 lead over top seed Ben Collins. The final set was fought hard point for point and ended 11-9 in Liam's favour. He moved into the final, to face a player he had never found victory against before.

The final began and Liam was quite to take the first set, 11-8. Craig turned up the heat though and although the next 2 sets were close they both fell in the favour of Dye, who won the Over 30s event just days earlier. Young hadn't given up yet though, he stole away the 4th set 11-9 and then made a sprint for the homeline in the 5th set to win 11-4, an incredible margin. Liam Young took his first national title and after being a bronze medallist in the C Grade at nationals last year, winning gold in the B Grade this year shows what progress Liam has made in the past year. Congratulations Liam! 

Nai Xin Jiang also emerged champion in the women's after beating Zhiying Cheng 3-1 and winning the final against Jessica Macaskill in straight sets. Well done Nai Xin :)

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