Fremont Table Tennis Academy had 7 students play the 2022 US Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas this past week featuring the nation’s best players. It was the toughest competition my students have faced with an enriching and rewarding experience for them. It was a great experience for them to play different styles from throughout the nation and rewarding for them and me to see them go through the ups and downs of a major tournament and each individual match.
Students that went from Fremont Table Tennis Academy were Priyanshu, Tega, Aanya, Rohan, Rithika, and Karthik. They were all playing a US Nationals for the first time. Priyanshu and Tega played the US Open in December as their only previous major tournament experience. One adult student from the Fremont Table Tennis Academy Tri-Valley Branch, Alex, played 2 adult rating events. One student had to stop early in the tournament for personal reasons. Fremont Table Tennis Academy had eight 5th or 9th place finishes.
This was one of the most challenging coaching assignments I’ve had as I often had six students playing at the same time, looking for coaching, and was struggling as to who to coach. I can’t coach six kids at once in different parts of the big hall. Unfortunately, I missed many of my students matches. I did get some occasional help from one friend coach from out of the area.
All students had at least one win against players at least 400 points above their ratings. Aanya, Tega, and Alex reached the quarterfinals of rating events (5th place). Aanya also had a 9th place finish. Tega nearly beat the eventual champion of Under 1500 losing 2-3 in the quarters (5th place). Alex lost in the quarters of Under 1000 adults to the eventual champion. Priyanshu lost 2-3 after being up 2-0 in the final 16 of the under 1400 narrowly losing to the eventual finalist. Rohan finished in 9th place in under 1000 and under 1100. 9-year old Karthik and 12-year old Rithika went for experience and each won many matches! Rithika was one match away from advancing in under 1000 and Karthik finished in 9th place in under 1000.
Tega possibly had the match of the tournament that many don’t know about in the girls 15 years and under event round robin stage. The match featured many long rallies, close games, a big upset, match points being saved in multiple games, and possibly the comeback of the tournament! She was down 0-2 in games against the 2021 us open girls 11 years singles silver medalist rated 1826 (Tega’s latest rating is 1319). Then Tega won the 3rd game in deuce. In the 4th game, she was down 2-6 and won in deuce. In the 5th game, she was down 4-10 and won 8 straight points to win 12-10! It was a great example of mental toughness and fighting until the end. It was also a spectacular match to watch as Tega is a defensive chopper so stands further back from the table to retrieve balls. The match featured very long rallies and spectacular points with chopping and lobbing in deuce to end games. This allowed Tega to make the main draw of the girls 15 years and under event where she faced the top US girl for 13 years and under rated over 2000 and had chances with 8-8 in 2nd game and 9-9 in 3rd game before falling 0-3 in games.
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Overall, it was an excellent experience for me as a coach and my students as developing players. Fremont Table Tennis Academy had great team spirit with parents and kids cheering each other and even sometimes coaching each other when I was not available!
Tega Sebeni-5th place-Under 1500
Priyanshu Ghosh-9th place-Under 1400
Aanya Kulkarni-5th place-Under 1000, 9th place-Under 1100
Alex Hwang-5th place-Under 1000
Rohan Bubna-9th place-Under 1000, 9th place-Under 1100
Karthik Kalle-9th place-Under 1000