Alyssa Nguyen was the first national champion to be crowned for 16 months as the Mark Bates Ltd U10-U13 National Championships got under way today at the University of Warwick.
Nguyen won the Under-11 Girls and Ralph Pattison quickly followed her into the hall of fame when he won the Under-13 Boys’ trophy, adding to the Under-11 crown he won at the last edition of this tournament in 2019.
The Under-11 Boys’ title was claimed by Second seed Kacper Piwowar and the Under-13 Girls’ gold was won by top seed Sienna Jetha.
Photos by Michael Loveder – visit our Flickr page to see more from today’s play.
Tomorrow sees the Under-10 and Under-12 events.
Ralph Pattison met Issac Kingham in a repeat of the Under-11 final of two years ago, and the result was the same as Pattison won in four games.
Both players had gone into the final having not dropped any games, and it was Kingham whose record went first as Pattison moved into a 2-0 lead. A timeout in the third helped Kingham recover turn a 7-3 deficit into an 11-8 win to close the gap, but Pattison held a slim advantage through most of the fourth and got over the line at 11-9. The final scoreline was 3-1 (11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9).
The champion said: “I’m over the moon, emotions are running wild at the moment. I was confident but I know Isaac has talent.
“The whole event was a big challenge, a big ask – hard qualifying, hard final, hard semi-final. My hard work’s really paid off for me, so I’m really happy.”
Pattison had defeated Max Radiven in the semi-finals, while Kingham triumphed against Harry Randall.
In the earlier knockout rounds, there were five-set matches aplenty in the last 16, with pride of place going to Kacper Piwowar, who came through 11-4 in a decider against Sam Gabriel – the latter earning a yellow card in the fifth as frustration showed.
There was drama in the match between Randall and Leo Nguyen, the former winning 12-10 in the decider, while Palmer had to shake off a stubborn Alexander Graham 11-7 in the fifth – Graham having twice fought back to level the match.
Radiven had to come back from 2-1 down to Adam Alibhai – it was 11-7 in the final set in that one – while Cheung-Turner was also behind 2-1 to Zac Greenhough before coming through 11-7 in the fifth.
Piwowar’s run stopped in the quarter-finals at the hands of second seed Kingham, the same stage where Radiven ended the hopes of third seed Abraham Sellado in three. It was also three straight for Pattison against Louis Cheung-Turner.
The tie of the round saw Randall sink fourth seed Daniyal Palmer, recovering from losing the first game to triumph in four.
Zac Greenhough took down the top seed in Group 8, emphatically defeating Hugo Nguyen 3-0 (2, 6, 9) – Nguyen did seal the runners-up spot.
In Group 9, Harry Randall topped the standings from position two, upsetting top-ranked player Felix West in four (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8). West went through as runner-up.
Group 5 saw Jeremy Davies go through from position three, thanks to a great comeback from 2-0 down against Charlie Davidson – the scoreline was 3-2 (7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7) as Davies went through behind top seed in the group, Max Radiven.
The third-ranked player made it through in Group 1 as well – Alexander Graham picking up two victories, including a crucial one over second-ranked Ben Keeley in three (4, 7, 1). Top seed Ralph Pattison was untroubled in winning the group.
And another No 3 went through from Group 3, where William Hopkins won the crucial match against No 2 Jamie Myska-Buddell in five tight sets – the scoreline was 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8 – to join group winner Abraham Sellado in reaching the knockout rounds.
Second-ranked Tom Wardell had a fright in Group 2, having to fight back from 2-1 down to beat third-ranked Prateek Divakarla 3-2 (11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6) and go through to the knockout stage behind group winner Isaac Kingham.
Top seed Sienna Jetha lived up to her billing as she defeated Naomi Coker in three straight (9, 4, 4) to take the gold medal without dropping a game all day.
The bronze medallists were Millie Noble, who was beaten 3-0 (8, 8, 3) by Jetha, and second seed Ella Pashley, who pushed Coker closer before going down 3-1 (11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Pashley and Jetha had made it through the quarter-finals in three straight, against Eva Eccles and Mia Lakhani, but the other two matches at that stage went the distance.
Coker came from 2-1 down to beat the Under-11 champions from 2019, Mia Longman, coming through 3-2 (6-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-4, 11-9) in the end.
The other tie was even closer as Noble also recovered a 2-1 deficit against Brooke Morris, claiming a 3-2 (12-10, 11-13, 6-11, 14-12, 11-7) success and saving two match points in the fourth.
U11 champion Alyssa Nguyen gave Coker a brief fright in the first round, taking the opening game before Coker came back to seal a 3-1 (7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3) success.
That was also the stage where fourth seed Chui-Que Wong departed. Having been runner-up in her group, she had to face second seed Pashley and was beaten in three.
U13s Girls winner is… Sienna Jetha! 🏓🙌
— Table Tennis England (@TableTennisENG) July 3, 2021
Group 4 saw the No 1 player and fourth seed overall, Chui-Que Wong, beaten by No 3 Evie Knaapen, who registered a 3-0 (9, 8, 5) victory. Wong’s victory over Charlotte Fee took her through as group runner-up.
The No 3 also advance from Group 7, Isabella Turner-Samuels picking up three wins from three, including an impressive 3-0 (10, 4, 7) victory over top-ranked Sophie Ackred.
Ackred could not claim the runners-up spot as she was defeated by Millie Noble in four games – meaning Noble went through with Turner-Samuels.
In Group 2, Ella Pashley went through from No 1 as expected but was followed by No 3 Melissa Withers, who overcame the higher-ranked Luna Archard in a see-saw five-setter which finished 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 in her favour.
Brooke Morris won Group 5, as expected on rankings, but No 4 and U11 champion from earlier in the day, Alyssa Nguyen was runner-up after compiling two good wins over higher-ranked Caron Charles and Zara Brooks. She also gave Morris a fright, coming from 2-0 down to level, before Morris got over the line 3-2 (11-7, 11-5, 5-11, 7-11, 11-5).
It was a similar story in Group 3, where No 1 Naomi Coker took the top spot and No 4 Georgina Tamberlin was runner-up, having defeated both Chloe Robinson and Azra Ekram – the latter in a decider (6-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5).
Kacper Piwowar won a pulsating final against Abraham Sellado after both boys had seen a match point saved by their opponent.
Piwowar led the decider 9-5 but saw the lead whittled away as it went to the wire, but he found extra focus and took the title 3-2 (8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11).
Piwowar dropped his first set of the tournament in his semi-final against Teagan Khazal, but he had already taken the first two and regrouped to complete a 3-1 (11-8, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6) victory.
The other bronze medallist was Adam Alibhai, who would have had half an eye on something better when he led Sellado 2-0 in the other semi-final. But the top seed turned it around to complete a 3-2 (6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) victory.
The quarter-finals all went as expected and all in three straight as the top three seeds progressed, alongside Teagan Khazal.
Back in the first round, Nishil Shah’s fine comeback saw him knock out Aden Van Hoorebeek 3-2 (8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 14-12), saving a match point on the way.
U11s Boys winner is Kacper Piwowar!
2nd place: Abraham Sellado
3rd: Teagan Khazal & Adam Alibhai
Well done all 🎉 pic.twitter.com/i41d79yONb
— Table Tennis England (@TableTennisENG) July 3, 2021
The top two seeds sailed through Groups 1 and 2, but were not joined in the knockout rounds by the second-ranked players.
In Group 1, it was Aden Van Hoorebeek who went through with Abraham Sellado, having overcome second-ranked Sultan Adeleke in five (1-11, 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 11-5).
And in Group 2, the fourth-ranked player Lewis Wu went through with Kacper Piwowar, having beaten both the No 2 and No 3 players in the group – Zaib Rehman-Furs and Reuben Greve – in three straight.
Nishil Shah rose from No 3 to No 2 in Group 5 thanks to a 3-1 win (9-11, 11-0, 12-10, 11-6) over Kai Tian Yiu. Top-ranked Jamie Myska-Buddell won the group.
The withdrawal of No 4 seed Callem Pace meant the other two players in Group 4 were guaranteed to go through – Euan Hacking took top spot with a 3-2 (5-11, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5) win over Charles Donald.
Alyssa Nguyen is the champion, defeating Hannah Saunders 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-8) to take gold in a tournament in which none of the four seeds made it on to the podium.
Alyssa certainly has the bragging rights in the Nguyen household – her brothers Hugo and Leo were reached the knockout rounds in the Under-13 Boys’ event but could not get onto the podium.
The champion said: “I feel really good. I’ve been practising my serve and that helped me to win. I want to say thank you to my coach, Paul Whiting.
“I think my brothers will say well done.”
In the semi-finals, Nguyen had removed fourth seed Jemima Choudhury in three emphatic sets, while it took Saunders four to get past Laura North.
The competition had been blown wide open in the quarter-finals, North defeating top seed Evie Knaapen 3-1 and Nguyen coming through by the same margin against second seed Zara Brooks.
Third seed Manders having gone out in the groups, it meant fourth seed Choudhury was the highest-ranked player left and she went through in four against Ashlee Badger – only to run into an inspired Nguyen in the last four.
The big excitement in the group stage came in Group 3, where there was a three-way tie between top seed Ava Manders, No 2 Ashlee Badger and No 3 Hannah Saunders.
When the maths had been worked out, they finished in the reverse order,
Group 1 saw third-ranked Alyssa Nguyen upset No 2 Maahi Malde and come oh-so-close to defeating top seed Evie Knaapen.
Nguyen defeated Malde in three and then led 2-1 and had chances to win in the fourth against Knaapen before the top seed came through 3-2 (11-6, 9-11, 2-11, 15-13, 11-2).
Knappen was also given a tough workout by Malde, winning in three close games which all went to deuce.
Amber Lemmon got above Kiko Dobson-Baily in Group 2 to join group top seed and winner Zara Brooks in the quarter-finals.
And it was a similar feat in Group 4, third-ranked Laura North overcoming No 2 Lucy Jones to go through with top seed Jemima Choudhury.