I think this was one of the craziest finals and semi-finals. I've ever seen. Four 2500+ players battling it out with two injuries. With Daniel Tran vs. Jimmy Butler, Butler tried to play with an injured knee but couldn't move well and decided to forfeit in the second game. With Alexandru Cazacu vs. Carlos Hernandez, Hernandez, while trying to reach for a wide forehand, unfortunately rolled his ankle on a chair leg and had to take a medical time-out.
No one would fault him for also retiring after this injury, but Carlos decided to play on. After losing the first game 11-2 and the second game 11-6, it looks like he decided to focus more on serve and serve receive. Somehow on one leg, he stormed back into the match and won a reverse sweep 11-9, 11-6, 11-5. I'm still not sure what happened but I think it's a great match to watch.
In the finals, he faced Daniel Tran who always threatened to pull away with the lead, but Carlos somehow was able to keep up. Tran smartly hit wide forehands mixed with short touches to make use of his mobility advantage, narrowly winning 12-10, 12-10, 6-11, 12-10. Grit and will to win seem like vague and unimportant concepts in such a technical sport, but those aspects of the game really showed up from both finalists and it was amazing to watch live.
ATTC Member Rating Gains
Jeremey D Lopez
Our very own surprise math puzzle quizzer Leo made a huge 200 point jump to the 1200s. He also made it to the 3rd/4th place in his division. Jeff Nguyen, one of his mentors, thinks Leo can break 1600 by the end of 2024. We look forward to seeing his progress in table tennis!
Also of note is a great win by Austin's premier Aussie, Luke Kempen who defeated Eddie Li (1943) and went 5 games against Randy Hou (2077). Despite the lack of space at TTT, Luke had the crowd woo'ing with amazing long distance fishing and sudden powerful forehands. He also made it out of the elite group stage to face Youtube Table Tennis star, Takeda Ayano.
Although he lost 3-1, he received excellent advice from surprise guest coach Leo, and won the 3rd game. As the ending of this tournament report, here's a picture court side from where Coach Leo was sitting. Keep on practicing!