USA Table Tennis

Mar 17 Kewei Li beats Eugene Wang to Become the 2014 Cary Cup Champion

By Barbara Wei | March 17, 2014, 9 a.m. (ET)
2014 Cary Cup 
2014 Cary Cup Semi-Finals Action

Kewei Li (2711), finalist at the 2013 Cary Cup, came to this year’s event hoping to improve upon his performance last year. However, he faced tough competition. With 12 players over 2500 and many former and current Chinese super league players, the 2014 Cary Cup was arguably the strongest in history. As he battled his way to the final, he had to continually step up his game, in order to get through to the next round.

In the group stage, Kewei Li struggled with Di Yu (2438) winning 3-2 after being down 1-2 in games. He was able to dominate the remaining matches, and come out on top. The next day, in the championship single elimination rounds, he faced Bo Wang (2505), a female left-handed looper player who had upset Cheng Li (2598) in the group stage the day before. Despite Bo Wang’s consistent looping, Kewei Li stayed in control of the points and pulled out the win 3-1.

In the quarterfinal, Kewei Li faced Qingliang Wang (2573) another modern defensive player. Although many anticipated this match to be a “chop-a-thon”, it actually featured some of the most intensive serve-attack and forehand looping play of the tournament. Kewei Li got off to a slow start and was moving slowly in the first game, which allowed Qingliang Wang to start attacking viciously. Qingliang was able to take the first and third games with vicious forehand attacking, and Kewei Li looked in trouble. However, in the fifth game, Kewei stepped up his own attacking play, and forced Qingliang to defend. Although a very good effort for Qingliang, Kewei took the 5th game and moved onto the semi-finals. In the semi-final, Kewei Li faced the number two seed Mingyu Shi (2796), who gave him a good fight with his strong forehand, but ultimately was not consistent enough to take down the eventual champion.

In the final, Kewei Li (2711) faced Eugene Wang (2822) in a repeat of the previous year’s Cary Cup finals. However, this year, Kewei Li dominated the match, convincingly taking a 2-0 lead, before eventually winning 3-1, 14-12 in the fourth.

At his peak, Kewei Li was ranked #10 in China, and practiced regularly with the national team. After his time in the Chinese national team, he spent 6 years in the Italian leagues where he played on the same team as Jean-Michael Saive (7x Olympian, and formerly ranked top 10 in the world). Kewei has recently moved to Houston from Atlanta and focuses on coaching at the Texas TT Training Center.  He is also able to train with Jimmy Butler at his new location.  

Rewatch the Web Stream from Cary courtesy of Butterfly!

Continual coverage of the Cary Cup and stories about the athletes will be available at butterflyonline.com, or via Butterfly North America’s twitter and facebook pages. 

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