John Mar won the Knoxville Joseph Newgarden Summer Gold Dollar Upset Open 2017

The Knoxville Table Tennis Club (KTTC) hosted its summer tournament at the Knoxville Table Tennis Club on August 5th, 2017.  The tournament uses a format with two tier giant round robin where 36 players are divided into two divisions, Upper and Lower division.  Each division has two groups of nine players.  Players in each group will go through a giant round robin.  The top two seeds advance to Semi-Finals and Finals and a third place match was also played for the second-runner up from the semi-final matches.

In addition to the normal tournament prize money, this tournament format is unique in that the winner of every upset match will receive Upset Gold Dollar based on the rating difference if both players are officially rated by USATT before the start of the tournament.  These are US One Dollar coins.  This feature of the tournament is junior players’ favorite.  KTTC has reserved additional $200 for upset “Gold Dollar”.

In the Upper division, the first semi-final was played between Babak Fakharpour (Rated: 1767) from Lexington, KY and Lydia Tsang (Rated: 1955) from Nashville, TN.  Lydia plays shortpips on her forehand and her furious quick forehand attack has defeated top seed John Mar in the group stage to earn a top spot in the Semi-Finals.  However, Lydia’s quick attack has found a match in Babak powerful forehand smash attack and lost in the fifth game to Babak.  The second semi-final was played between Martin Del Vecchio (Rated: 2127), a new five-day old resident of Knoxville, TN (from New Orleans, LA) and John Mar (Rated: 2207) from Atlanta, GA.  The second semi-final was equally entertaining with many rallies and brilliant shots from both elite players.  In the end, John Mar has to overcome a two-game deficit to defeat Martin on another five-game thriller to advance to the final.

This sets up a final match with a 440 rating points difference.  Perhaps some may expect a quick final match.  But not too soon said Babak!  Babak maximized his powerful forehand smash and solid backhand block to open the match with a win on the first game 11-7.   John’s experiences quickly recovered and took the next two game with 11-3 and 11-7.  But Babak was fighting hard for the match and executed the point of the tournament by hitting a monster forehand counter smash off John Mar’s smash to take game four 11-6!  In game five, John’s consistency and accurate placement of the shots paid off in the end and John won the final game 11-5.

And the Upper division third place match was played between Martin and Lydia.  Martin’s skills and consistency has proved to be too much for Lydia and Martin won the match with 3 games to 1.

In the Lower division, the first semi-final was played between Peyton Fakharpour (Rated: 1711) from Lexington, KY and Shenouda Labib (Rated: 1628) from Nashville, TN.  Shenouda stars off the game strong by smashing relentlessly and took game one.  But Peyton (son of Babak) recovers very well and executed his serves and third balls attack to take the next three games and won the first semi-final.  The second semi-final was played between Richard Unanue (Rated: 1623) from Asheville, NC and Ed Dazevedo (Rated: 1582) from Knoxville, TN.  The match is another five-game thriller.  Richard long pip game gave Ed trouble in the first game.  But Ed plays a short pips pen hold style game himself recovers well and took the next two games to lead 2:1.  Then Richard continues to invent new ways to use his long pips and accurate placement to confuse Ed’s game and took fourth game.  Then in the fifth game, Ed has changed his strategy to serve long and attack the long return from Richard to take game five.

In the final match between Ed and Peyton, Peyton continues his variety of serves and third ball attack that gave Ed many troubles on the receiving end.  Although Ed continued to execute his quick attack classic short pips game and brilliant counter hit shots, too many unforced errors on Ed’s part cost him the final match in the end.  Peyton took a 3:0 win over Ed in the final match.

The Lower division third place match was played between Shenouda and Richard.  This one is also another five-game thriller.  Shenouda has to overcome a 1-2 deficit to win it in the fifth game to take the third place.

Ed, Peyton, Babak, Shenouda, John, Martin, and Jude

The Knoxville Table Tennis Club would like to thank all the players who had participated in the tournament.  KTTC would also like to thank our sponsors Newgy, G.R.E.A.T., Horizon Aviation, YWCA, and Tactics Group and all the volunteers who have made the event a successful one.

Players can click here to view a few pictures that I took during the tournament.

Jude Lam, President of KTTC