By: Jeff Nguyen
September 21, 2023
The Austin Table Tennis Club hosted the Fall Open on September 16th with 94 entries across 7 events. There was Open singles, 4 rated singles events, and 2 rated double events. For this tournament the Open singles was started 2 hours earlier than usual to allow for an earlier finish, which was around 6PM. The U2100 singles and U4000 doubles rounded out the evening which wrapped up around 9pm.
Big thanks to Tuan, Hazel, Ken, Gaurav (our new front desk man), and others for helping run the tournament. Tuan had results posted Saturday night after the tournament on Omnipong and USATT published results on Monday. Super FAST!!! Also shout out to Gaurav - he brought in an army of volunteers Friday night before the tournament to help clean and set up the facility. If you have a middle/high schooler that needs volunteer hours for Key Club, National Honor Society, or other academic clubs - or spends too much time on the couch - send them our way or ask the front desk when the next tournament is!!!
47% of our participants were juniors. ATTC is an ideal fighting ground for Texas Juniors because of its central location for table tennis in Texas. It makes travel a little shorter for DFW and Houston folks and also allows for exposure to different styles unique to each region. Competition is only going to get more intense as these kiddos develop their games. We're looking forward to a lot of great matches in the future! Forgive any miscounts, but roughly looking at the entry lists juniors from these cities came to complete:
22 Austin Juniors
20 Houston Juniors
3 DFW Juniors
It's important to play matches especially for our tournament goers! So make sure to travel to DFW and Houston to compete so that you can get a taste of different playing environments and styles. It's easy to play well when you're on home court - what you want is to be able to play well on any court - so go out there and get familiar with different venues!!!
In the first Open Singles semi-final, Viren Patel played against Li Kewei. Viren is a former Indian Provincial player and Li Kewei a former National level player. The two have faced off 5 times in the past year with this encounter being his 5th win. Li Kewei has won 15 of the last 16 sets they have played.
In the second semi-final, Jimmy Butler played Oliver Wang. Oliver Wang is a student of Li Kewei and is currently studying at UTD. This is the first time these two have played each other in a sanctioned tournament where Jimmy took the semi-final in straight sets.
For the third place match, Oliver Wang faced off against Viren Patel. Oliver took the first set comfortably, but in the second set the two exchanged many extended rallies. The two finally finished the set 17-15 with Oliver taking the set. Despite the efforts of set two Viren could not take set 3 where Oliver won the set and match at 11-8.
In the finals we had a classic Jimmy and Kewei battle. Between the two of them they lost only 3 sets the entire tournament! These two have met 11 times where Li Kewei added his ninth victory against Jimmy at the 2023 Austin Fall Open.
You're going to see a lot of Mo in the podium finishes below. He was able to finish 3rd in the U2100, 2nd in the U1900, and 3rd/4th in the U4000 doubles. Quite a haul!!!
1st - Jeff Nguyen (The guy with the colorful Post-It Shirt)
3rd - Mehrdad "Mo" Maghaddami
2nd - Mehrdad "Mo" Maghaddami
3rd/4th - Luke Lin
1st - Sikander Aggarwal
2nd - Pavlo Savchenko
3rd/4th - Yashwanth Sathish
3rd/4th - Tanner Ferguson
2nd - Jeff Nguyen / Jenny Pobelova
3rd/4th - Sunil Idnani / Robert Wu
3rd/4th - Masoud Mojtahed / Mehrdad "Mo" Maghaddami
2nd - Kai Song / Lillian Ding
TOP GAINERS LIST
Nine of the fifteen top gainers hit their highest rating! The highest gainer, Sikander Aggarwal, took home 223 points! Sikander is a regular at Wednesday Night League since last year. He defeated the 2023 US Nationals U1600 Champion Jung Ho Park from DFW, Kyle Moyant from El Paso TTC, Chris Rosin from HITTA, Tanner Ferguson and Pavlo Savachenko both from ATTC. All of these opponents are very difficult from two-winged loopers, pips players, side-spin players and strong backhand players. A gauntlet and variety of styles Sikander had to battle through. Congrats Sikander!!!
Luke Lin and Mehrdad "Mo" Maghaddami have nearly identical styles and have been rising together almost in lockstep over the past few tournaments. Luke and Mo took the #2 and #3 positions for the "Top Gainers" list bringing back a combined 352 points. These fellas can be very difficult to play with their "push-block" style. It's great that ATTC has these guys, as you only see their style at national tournaments and abroad. It's not an easy style to learn and it's not an easy style to play against. If you all get a chance challenge them to a match! It might be frustrating at first, but if you want to grow as a player and better understand how spin works - you definitely have to play these guys. If you're not paying attention when you play them, be prepared to pick the ball up - frequently.
Four of the fifteen top gainers are from the ATTC Junior program. They brought back a combined 223 points. Yash, Aditya, Aaryan, and Morris - their diligence in summer training is really paying off! Many of these kiddos have hit their personal best or are returning to form. Good job y'all and shout out to Coach Shahin and Clayton for pushing them in training. Keep working hard, this is just a pit stop for you all!!!
Big congratulations to Conrado Garza - ATTC's newly minted 2000. He defeated the very talented junior River Dai from CCC Houston, and HITTA rival and chopper Matthew George to bump him up to 2005. He is now the 17th individual to join the Austin Table Tennis Club 2K Club. Welcome and congratulations!!!
The list below contains the following information: Name - Club Affiliation - New rating (point gain) Highest Rating (HR)
Sikander Aggarwal -- ATTC Adult -- 1731(+223) HR
Luke Lin -- ATTC Adult -- 1862(+204) HR
Mehrdad "Mo" Maghaddami -- ATTC Adult -- 1830(+148) HR
Yashwanth Sathish -- ATTC Junior -- 1530(+110) HR
Aditya Chirayath -- ATTC Junior -- 1748(+46) HR
Pavlo Savchenko -- ATTC Adult -- 1606(+46) HR
Jiahua Ma -- ATTC Adult -- 1437(+44) HR
Aaryan Polisetty -- ATTC Junior -- 1524(+35)
Morris Lo -- ATTC Junior -- 1052(+32) HR
Chen Zhao -- ATTC Adult -- 1453(+26)
Brandon Babot -- ATTC Adult -- 1434(+14)
Annayya Manjunath Savadatti -- ATTC Adult -- 1603(+14)
Anthony Juarbe -- ATTC Adult -- 1371(+11)
Erwin Josef Prinz --ATTC Adult -- 1425(+11)
Conrado Garza -- ATTC Adult -- 2005(+10) HR
There many reasons why many of us are drawn to table tennis. Hanging out with friends, having good rallies, going to tournaments, traveling, training, to stay healthy - take your pick. We all have our own reasons why we play and enjoy this sport.
With all sports there are opportunities to compete. When we go out to tournaments it's a chance to test yourself, to see if what you're tinkering with in your game shows up in matches, or to see old friends from cities far away. However, with all sports there is a winner and a loser at the end of a match. With all competition the will to win can be strong, but what is more important than the actual win is how you carry yourself regardless of the outcome. We play because we enjoy this sport and sometimes we may learn a thing or two that we can use in other parts of our lives. Tough to do that if you keep a grudge for a bad match.
Win because you chose to do so with character,
not because you're afraid of losing.
Character is a set of values, ethics, and principles an individual believes in. It's part of what defines you as a person. As an athlete, especially for our juniors, consider some principles of good sportsmanship:
Fair play - Follow the rules
Respect for your opponent
Camaraderie and Friendship
Have a positive attitude
Be gracious about results
Give credit where it is due
Always give your best
Give everyone a chance
Take some time to talk about these things with your friends, family, and coaches. Try to understand what they mean. Ask yourself: Are these ideas important? What do these ideas mean to me? What if someone else doesn't do these things? How do these things affect me when I'm training and competing? What's a good winner? What's a bad winner? What's a sore loser? What's a good loser? Seeing a group of words for their definition is one thing, but understanding their value - especially on a personal level - is another.
A lot of these ideas are easy to follow in some circumstances, especially when you're winning. To follow these ideas when you're losing or in a difficult situation: think 2-2 at deuce; or if you're down 9-10, 1-2 in the 4th; or if someone gets a net or edge in a very unlucky situation - demonstrates true strength of character, and conviction in principles. Strength is more than big muscles, winning, looking good, appearing credible, or being in control of everything.
Strength is being, trusting, and fighting for yourself in all situations, and supporting those around you that are trying to do the same.
Now -- no one is asking you to be a saint. Sometimes these ideas can be over idealized and there are situations where there is more nuance that should be considered. What's important is that you take and keep what you believe is good for you.