Monday, 7 October 2013

Experience Prevails in B Grade Events

In a tightly packed and competitive draw it was Simon Fenwick who came through to the gold medal position in a semifinal draw full of young rising junior players all but a third his age and clearly no match for his experience. Armindeep Singh was the victor in the B Grade Women's singles overcoming her team mate and regular opponent Jessica Macaskill.

Simon Fenwick winner of the B Grade Men's Singles
Image Courtesy of Murray Finch
The B grade men's draw saw the absence of Jonathan Wang and Bryn Lindsay which gave an extra chance for some 3rd seeded players to come through their groups. Mike Wolloner qualified over Roger Wang in the first group, coming back from 2-1 down to win in 5 sets. Dinyar Irani rescued himself as he fought for his second place spot against Kelsey Amor. Kelsey held the advantage in the final set as frustration set in, but sheer focus brought Irani home and through the group 2nd. Manawatu's Lei Zhang was perhaps the luckiest player of the day to keep his first position through the group after he suffered a 4 set defeat at the hands of group 4th seed Matthew Solt. Victor Pollett having dropped 2 sets to Berdy Fang went through 2nd.

Into the main draw and top seed Lyndon White made an early round of 16 exit to Dinyar Irani. Some great consistent and heavy chopping from Lyndon was causing big problems for Dinyar but once he found rhythm he looked unstoppable, winning the last 2 sets 11-4 and 11-9. Perhaps the closest 2 matches of the event were between Dean Shu and Victor Pollett and Jon Jon and Victor Ma. Both 5 set duels, Dean held a 2-1 lead in the round of 16 and with great effort sealed the deal 11-9 in the 5th, Jon Jon on the other hand played his match in the quarterfinals and was trailing 2-1 before he came back and won the last 2 sets. It was only fitting that after 2 such close matches that the two winners met and repeated the intense process all over again. The semifinals saw Dean win 14-12 in the 5th set over Jon Jon who had beaten him 3-0 in the under 21 draw, the perfect revenge which took Dean Shu to the finals.

B Grade Men's Silver Medallist Dean Shu
Image Courtesy of Murray Finch
Kevin Lin moved into the semifinals with a tight win over Jerry Zhang from Manawatu, another 5 set duel. Simon Fenwick was rapidly moving across the bottom of the draw, reversing his open men's group result against Myles Collins. The men's match had seen Myles take off to a 2-0 lead and Simon develop some stronger tactics to bring it back to 5. Despite losing that match, the tactic building continued into the quarterfinal match and Simon won in straight sets. Moving into the semifinal he didn't seem to have too much trouble with Kevin Lin, while he dropped one set 11-9 the 3 sets he won gave a lot of space and the pressure was all on the younger player to step his game up. 

Moving into the final the sets were tight and plenty of chances arose for Dean Shu but Fenwick showed his experience and a combination of consistency and attacking play to win in 3 sets 11-9, 11-8, 11-8. A great show of table tennis and a lesson for the upcoming younger generation.

In the women's singles it seemed fitting that Jessica Macaskill came through first in her group despite being seeded second behind Canterbury's Helen Beumelberg. Macaskill won in 4 sets and followed up with a 3-0 win over Hyunjee Yoon. Armindeep Singh claimed two 3-0 wins while despite a great fight from Gemma Buzzard, Angel Huang claimed the win to go through 2nd. 

B Grade Women's Singles Winner Armindeep Singh
Image Courtesy of Murray Finch
Straight semifinals and it was Waikato through to the finals after Jess Macaskill won 3-0 over Angel Huang and Armindeep won in 4 sets over Helen. The final would prove to be another interesting matchup. Armindeep was out for vengeance having lost on the last two occasions at the Waikato Open final and Waikato Closed Championships final. Now in the B Grade women's final at the NZ Open, Armindeep was out to win her first B Grade title and she did just that. It was a 4 set ordeal but Armindeep looked much more confident than in the former 2 situations. Jess and Armindeep combined to win the women's doubles while Matt Hetherington and Craig Dye successfully defended their national title also with a 3-2 win over top seeds Simon Fenwick and Lyndon White.

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