Open Division Season Opening - 1/21/2007

By Bruce H. Liu

(from left to right, Spencer Chase, Terry Tam, Wei Hao Chen, Lily Zhang, Whitney Ping, and Ariel Hsing)

San Francisco CRS vs Palo Alto Team 2

This is the season opening for the Open division - 3 young gentlemen from San Francisco vs 3 young ladies from Palo Alto. All six players are in their teens and twenties. Who would you pick? It is tough and the result shows. The team tie started at 7:30PM sharp.

Whitney won both her singles convincingly without dropping a game. The rest of the matches were fiercely contested. When Lily, the number 2 US Cadet team member, won her first game against Wei Hao, spectator murmured that they might see a big upset. However, Wei Hao's creative reverse backhand and explosiveness proved too much for Lily.

Lily and Ariel's doubles also created lots of excitement for the night. The "older" player in the pair is just over 11. Their relentless attack troubled Wei Hao and Spencer throughout the match but the "senior" pair prevailed at the end.

After first 4 matches, it was dead even at 2:2. It was the number 1 cadet girl in the USA Ariel against the veteran player Terry to play the decisive match. There was nothing similar in their playing style other than they both played shakehand, . One is close-to-the-table-machine-gun fast and the other played steady away from the table. The rallies were audience-pleasing. Ariel kept smashing and Terry kept sending them back. In the beginning, Terry couldn't find his touch to handle Ariel's all-out attack and quickly lost the first game. Terry recouped in the second game. He kept the ball very deep to force some errors from Ariel to even the match at 1:1. At this point, they were both warm and pumped. Both played brilliantly in the 3rd game. It could have gone either way - 14:12, Ariel. Terry was not ready to give up just yet and mounted a comeback in the fourth game to tie the match at 2:2.

It was 9:30PM on Sunday and the club would close in 30 minutes. Everyone was tired. However, like an Energizer bunny, Ariel jumped right in in the fifth game to take a commanding 5:1 then 8:3 lead. Everybody thought it was over but Terry. He played one point at a time to close the game to 6:8 then 7:9. It was Ariel's serve - a short underspin serve. Terry dropped it back. Ariel pushed it deep and the ball hit the edge - 10:7, match point Ariel! Ariel then made a routine smash to win the game, the match, and the tie.

The history has been written that the first ever USATT Team League Open Division team tie has been won at 9:45PM, 1/21/2007 at Palo Alto, California.

Palo Alto Team 2 beat San Francisco CRS 3:2
  • Whitney Ping beat Terry Tam 3:0 (5,6,9)
  • Lily Zhang lost to Wei Hao Chen 1:3 (9,-8,-2,-8)
  • Lily Zhang/Ariel Hsing lost to Wei Hao Chen/Spencer Chase 2:3 (-8,9,-8,11,-7)
  • Whitney Ping beat Spencer Chase 3:0 (9,7,5)
  • Ariel Hsing beat Terry Tam 3:2 (4,-6,12,-9,7)

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