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History of U.S. Table Tennis Volume 14: 1985-86

CHAPTER SIXTEEN 

1985: October Tournaments. 

            Results of the Sacramento Columbus Day Open: Open Singles: 1. Enrico Li. 2. Masaaki Tajima. U-2200’s: 1. Tajima. 2. David Chu. 3. Angel Soltero. U-2050’s: Steve Varela. 2. Chu. 3. Anthony Streutker. U-1900’s: 1. Streutker. 2. Peter Graves. 3. Al Senter. U-1750’s: 1. Graves. 2. Senter. U-1600’s: LeRoy Yoder. 2. Warren Baxter. U-1450’s: 1. Baxter. 2. Dave Mandell. 3. Dan Goodwin. U-1150’s: 1. Ken Frankel. 2. Curtis Lunsford. Over 40’s: 1. James Ritz. 2. Don McDermott. 3. Tom Li. U-15’s: 1. Jim Goodwin. 2. Taro Arai. U-13’s: Sam Seo. 2. Keiko Arai. U-11’s: 1. David Levine. 2. Paul Acias. 

With regard to the Albuquerque, N.M. Team Tournament, held early in Oct., Tom Wintrich (SPIN, Nov., 1985, 13) tells us about his youthful team members, Rebecca Martin and Chi-Ming Chui, their Colorado Springs Headquarters-based driver Janice Clarke, and the team’s respectable finish at this tournament:

“Rebecca (Becky) Martin, who will celebrate her 13th birthday Nov. 25, likes her Britylams. Britylams? Explanation: The first part of this coined word refers to Brian Masters, her favorite table tennis coach, and the second part to Canada’s Bryan Adams, her favorite rock star. As an early birthday present, the USTTA through SPIN magazine’s travel budget, was generous enough to buy her the singer’s latest cassette. We had to listen to it en route while Becky talked about the table tennis Brian.

Martin was the youngest player selected to participate in the USTTA’s first Resident Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. By virtue of that selection she became the youngest athlete in residence of any Olympic sport at Colorado Springs.

Becky’s not always the youngest, however. In her family she’s the oldest of four children, the eldest daughter of her parents Roger and Rebecca Martin of Strafford, N.H. Her parents and brother Nathan, 9, are also USTTA members.

Becky started playing table tennis at age seven with her father. Her first table was the one in the kitchen, but she soon graduated to the real thing. Besides Brian Masters, she’s also been coached by Igor Fraiman, and of course Henan Ai, head coach at the RTP. Becky currently holds a 1428 rating and is ranked #2 nationally in Girls Under 13.

Martin recently left the RTP [left the sport itself?] for personal reasons and is hoping to return next year. In the meantime, Happy Birthday Becky—we miss you.

 Chi-Ming Chui, 14, represents one-fifth of the Chui table tennis dynasty of Bedford, MA. Father Lim Ming has long been a national-level player and was a U.S. World Team member in 1975. Younger brother Chi-Sun, 12, a shakehands player, is the #2 U.S. Boys U-13. Sister Jane, 10, and mother Marie are also USTTA-rated players.

At Albuquerque, Chi-Ming got off to a bad start, losing three matches and about 80 rating points, all before lunch. During the noon meal break, he was depressed and moaning after each bite of his cheeseburger and fries, groaning between sips of his orange-soda float, and still complaining when he took on a sundae for desert. Surprisingly, he was just as worried about getting his homework done. I thought for sure our team’s #2 player was lost to depression. It would be up to me and Becky to save the day.

Eating, I realized later, is an ongoing concern of Chi-Ming’s and with a full belly he is a content young man and definitely a better player. He forgot his morning’s disappointments and proceeded to win all his afternoon matches except one, a respectable loss to a player 100 points above him. Between ties and even between matches of ties, he was doing his homework, quite reluctant to let go of his geometry book. Indeed, in a must-win tie for us to make the semi’s crossovers, Chi-Ming carried his textbook to the table and placed it beneath it. He then beat Albuquerque’s Les Enslin, a cagey phantom/inverted bat-twirler of equal rating to Chi-Ming. Young Chui employed a simple threefold strategy: smash balls by the opponent with consistent pips-out hitting, shake hands at match’s end; and pick up the geometry book. He used the same game-plan against Lang Ho, another combination-bat player, won the match and with it the tie, and we got the semi’s spot.

But then with a 5-4 loss we missed out on the chance to play for the title. And we didn’t win the play-off for third either. But then we didn’t play. I argued that we had already beaten our opponents in preliminary competition and should be awarded Third-Place based on head-to-head competition. Chi-Ming’s viewpoint had nothing to do with table tennis. He just wanted to eat pizza—right away. Graciously we volunteered to leave early and start the tab at the tournament party. You can guess who was first and last in pizza competition.

With most of his lost rating points won back, his homework done, and, more importantly, his belly full, Chi-Ming was content again.

Janice Clarke, 21, our driver, began her journalism internship with the USTTA in September and of course she had no idea her job description would include being chauffeur (using her own car no less), team trainer, and chaperone.

Janice, a Canadian from Montreal, Quebec, is a University of South Carolina (USC) senior majoring in news editorial journalism. She excels in proof-reading/editing copy, and is responsible for eliminating numerous typos from the last two issues of SPIN. She well deserves her listing in the magazine’s credits as Assistant Editor. Janice also has been producing a publicity guide for the USTTA affiliated-club Resource Manual.

Janice is not a table tennis player despite a few lessons from Gene Lonnon. But her athletic accomplishments exceed those of any of the table tennis players in residence at Colorado Springs. She barely missed winning a spot on the 1980 Canadian Olympic Swim Team by just fractions of a second. She attended USC on an athletic scholarship and became an All-American at the 1984 NCAA Swimming Championships. Her specialties were sprint freestyle and butterfly, and she helped her USC team finish 12th nationally in March of this year.

Janice concludes her internship with the USTTA in December and will return to Columbia, S.C.” 

Wintrich also reports (SPIN, Nov., 1985, cover) on the Oct. 12-13 Colorado Springs Open:

            “Insook Bhushan, five-time U.S. Women’s Champion, offered little reason to doubt she’s still the USA’s premier woman player despite a two-year layoff. Nevertheless, she doesn’t look like the Insook of the past, but it’s her physical appearance that has changed, not her game.

            After giving birth to her son nine months ago, Insook underwent oral surgery to correct an overbite problem that had plagued her with headaches. She had teeth removed, her jaw restructured, and her mouth wired shut for six months. The end result is a ‘new look’ for Insook—though aside from a temporary weight loss, it doesn’t extend beyond her face.

At the table it’s the same Insook we’ve long admired, with the exception that her physical stamina is noticeably lower than the last time she competed. Undoubtedly that’s a temporary situation and it wasn’t enough to stop her from continuing as Colorado’s best player and the winner of the 1985 Colorado Springs Open with but the loss of a single game.

Insook Bhushan

Mark Kennedy of Lincoln, Neb., playing in his first tournament following his own 18-month layoff, was the winner of that deuce-in-the-third game during semifinal action. Mark had Insook breathing heavily at the end of that game, but she was hardly short of breath after eliminating him at 8 in the fourth. More memorable about Mark’s play was his courtside comment early in the match. Frustrated with his inability to cope with Insook’s ever-changing spin, he matter-of-factly stated, ‘This is no fun at all.’ Mark had advanced to the semi’s after a tough five-game win over Lisa Gee in the quarter’s.

Insook won the tournament, but Diana Gee was the star. After eliminating Todd Petersen in a straight-game quarter’s match, Diana knocked out Colorado’s second-ranked player, the chopper Bohdan Davidowicz. Diana’s patient play and careful shot selection was the key to her victory. Unable to overpower the Polish-born star, Diana relied on consistency, and, altering the pace of her attack, she deliberately moved Dawidowicz in and out. She also pushed a lot, confident that she could counter Bohdan’s pick hits. It was a perfect game plan, executed almost perfectly, and despite the best male player in the state’s attempt to frustrate her by lobbing (she’s weakest against lobs), Diana defeated him at 19 in the fourth.

Diana drew encouragement from a partisan crowd that was cheering for her every point, or, more accurately, against Dawidowicz. It was her Colorado Springs resident-athlete buddies who were taunting Bohdan, as they had when Gene Lonnon played him in the quarter’s. Dawidowicz, who’s not shy about playing to the audience, accepted the role of ‘bad guy’ and cheered himself on during his four-game defeat of Gene and the spectators. However, last laugh to the fans.

This Third Annual Colorado Springs Open was the largest ever (103 players), the strongest (16 entries over 1900), and the smoothest run due to a time-schedule that was accurate to the minute every round. In terms of playing conditions, it’s the best tournament in the country, but that’s not very remarkable given the Olympic Training Center venue and the equipment resources of the USTTA itself. The lack of significant prize money ($700 total) didn’t affect the entries, but with athletes in residence and a coaching camp in progress, the tournament benefitted from 24 ‘captive’ players before the entry blank was even printed. Still, there are now four clubs in Colorado Springs when there used to be one, and the Colorado USTTA membership has more than doubled in the last year (242 vs. 100). Grass roots development, fueled by advantages inherent to USTTA Headquarters in Colorado Springs, will undoubtedly foster continued growth in the Association’s administrative home state.

The Pike’s Peak YMCA/USO Table Tennis Club, sponsor of the Colorado Springs Open, does not take its fortuitous situation lightly and has set the goal of establishing its major event as a showcase for competitive table tennis nationally.”

Additional Results: Open Doubles: Mark Kennedy/Todd Petersen over Gene Lonnon/David Chun, 15, 5. Mixed Doubles: Chun/Diana Gee over Lonnon/Lisa Gee, 14, -17, 19. U-2000’s: Jasmine Wang over Len Hauer, 17, 10, 19. B’s: Chi-Ming Chui over Tim Eiles, -19, -21, 17, 19, 19, after Tim had advanced over Dennis Driggs, 18, -18, 19. C’s: Toni Gresham over Dave Libby, -24, 17, 19, then over Jonathan Levine, 13, 18, 14.U-1850 Women’s Singles: T. Gresham over Nam Suk Frazier, 9, -16, -21, 17, 14, after Nam had stopped Li Ai, 23, 19. U-1800 Doubles: Dennis Gresham/Bill Roady over Paul Lykke/Jim Lynum, 15, 22. D’s: Ai over Norm Silver, 13, 19, 15. E’s: Ed Warwick over Ben Brahim Soufen, 22, 11, 13 who’d escaped Lee Rodriguez, -23, 19, 18. Senior’s: Dana Jeffries over Tom Miller, 19, 19, 20. Boys U-17: Final: Elliott Driggs over David Driggs, 16, 15, -20, 16. Semi’s: E. Driggs over Jason Neve, -19, 21, 20; D. Driggs over Ted Eiles, 19, -16, 20. Boys U-15: D. Driggs over Neve, 15, -6, 19, -16, 14, after Jason had eliminated E. Driggs, 19, -15, 19. Girls U-17: 1. Becky Martin. 2. Joanne Mullen. Girls U-15: 1. Mullen. 2. Kathy Conway. 

Colorado tournament-goers were among those sorrowed by the death of Paul Cracraft, “an 1850-rated player from Boulder who died recently at age 25 of a brain tumor. He’d received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Colorado in 1984, and was working on a degree in Computer Science at the time of his death.” 

President Boggan covers the $3,250 Nissen Open, played Oct. 5-6 in the Coe College Gym at Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

“Danny Seemiller won the $700 first-prize in this 115-entry Nissen Open without losing a game (no wonder he’s won 9 out of 10 of these annual tournaments, again taking the John Stillions Memorial Trophy). Finalist Brandon Olson, 19, who beat Seemiller in a Westfield, N.J. tournament a couple of weeks earlier, this time couldn’t intensify his attack to offer much of a challenge.

Danny also won both Doubles—the Men’s with brother Ricky (over brother Randy and Rey Domingo), and the Mixed with Ardith Lonnon (over Brandon and Takako Trenholme).

Dan Seemiller

In the one semi’s, Seemiller (15, 22, 17) got by California’s fast-hands snap-hitter Khoa Nguyen (pronounced ‘WIN’) who’d had to rally to Nguyen his five-game way by Lake Placid Training partner Randy Seemiller. Yep, there is action up there at the Lake, but though we see a photo in SPIN of the Seemillers running a Pittsburgh Camp, we don’t get even a short article or so much as a placid shot of anything going on at that upstate New York Training Facility for our Elite Players. In the other semi’s, Brandon (18, 21, 18) casually lumbered down the highest of Rey Domingo’s lobs. Third place then went to…? Not to Rey. More swaying returns he put up that rose and fell, and down he went to Khoa, 21 and 19. But, alright, so Domingo came fourth—that did give him $5 more than 1842 Joel De Rider got for winning the B’s over Dennis Huang.

In the quarter’s, Brandon had a fine win over #2 seed Ricky Seemiller, who came all the way from Pittsburgh just to play one singles match. Down 2-0 but up 21-20 in the third, Ricky felt Brandon weakening but couldn’t bring himself to serve and do anything with the ball.

Vicky Wong, a member of the Resident Training Program at Colorado Springs, won the $130 first prize Women’s Singles over 1985-rated U.S. World Team member Takako Trenholme in straight games.

In the one semi’s, Vicky (13, 21, 19) struggled with an I’m-going-to-do-what-I-want-to-do Ardith Lonnon. In the other, Takako, dressed in a South Korean warm-up suit (to give her psychic strength?), downed Cheryl Dadian, 18 in the fourth. Like 3rd-Place finisher Ardith, Cheryl also hopes to go to the RTP. The Singles semifinalists did get some measure of revenge by winning the Women’s Doubles over Vicky/Takako.

In the Singles quarter’s, Takako was extended to three by Linda Gates, U-15 winner over Todd Sweeris. Linda paired with Jimmy Butler in the Mixed to pull off the upset of the tournament—a win over Vicky and a trying-hard-not-to-be-disgusted Rey. ‘Linda played great,’ Jimmy said. ‘She returned the ball deep, kept them from looping.’

Jimmy’s mother, Sue, had something to say, too, when she returned from Saturday’s Iowa vs. Michigan State football game sporting a flamboyant yellow pom-pom with a big ‘I’ on it. Sue colorfully said, ‘I’d rather follow Iowa football games than see my own kids play table tennis.’

Sue did manage to see a match or two…of Jimmy’s particularly. And he did play very well. He won three events: the Under 17’s over the Truelson brothers, the Under 21’s over both Khoa and Brandon, and the Under 2300’s over both Randy and Dell Sweeris. So add up Jim’s wins and you see he came away with a lot of points…and $260.

Sweeris won the Senior event over me, and like me in my dotage was recalling how he too had taken to falling asleep before the TV set (even during dramatic moments)—and he wasn’t 40 yet!

Winning the U-2100’s over Mark Legters was Mitch Seidenfeld who now that he’s about to get his undergraduate degree in English is going into full-time teaching…at a Federal Reserve bank. His first lesson? On Hemingway’s ‘Fifty Grand.’

The U-3800 Doubles went to Tim Boggan/Gus Kennedy over Bob Fox/Gary Elwell, 15, 15. The Senior Doubles to Fox/Kennedy over Boggan/Hugh Shorey, 18, 19. Winner in the U-1700’s was George Szeto over James Lynum, 17, 11. In the U-1500’s, Mark Heidenbrecht over Tom Madigan, 13, 15. Dat Truong won the Men’s Novice over John Bauer, 17, 12. Jia Yi Lee the Women’s Novice over Hsu Yi Lee. J. Kurema took the Handicap over Paul Lykke, 51-44.

Hanging on to win the Hard Rubber event was Brandon—over 9-year-old Brent Stearns in the semi’s and Mark Kennedy in the final, 19 in the third. A big upset was registered in this event when Brent, rated 780, beat me. Down 20-18 in the first, Brent hit in four consecutive winners to turn the match around. Troung won the U-13’s from Nilesh Narotam.

Yup, something here for young and old. Coming back after a 14-year absence was 63-year-old former Kansas City star Bill Guilfoil. Bill, who’s got old-timer Al Levy playing again, said he came to Cedar Rapids, to this tournament, to keep up with the progress of the sport. Right on, Bill.


Tournament Director Houshang Bozorgzadeh was assisted by George Bovis, Paul and Arian Lewis, Dean Card, and Bill and Liz Hornyak. Dick Butler provided the clear, informative feature-match announcements, while John Read offered his unique umpire and draw-making services. John, over the decades, has probably made more draws than any other person. The traditional win or lose Players Party was held at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. 

Winners at the Oct. 20th Rockford, IL Open: Open Singles: Kurt  Lloyd over Wayne Wasielewski, 13, -13, 13. Women’s: Neena Patel over Grace Wasielewski, 18, -17, -14, 9, 12. U-2100’s: 1. Wasielewski. 2. Lloyd. U-1950’s:  1. Claude  Cauthen. 2. Lloyd. U-1750’s: 1. Henry Mak. 2. G. Wasielewski.  U-1550’s: 1. Mak. 2. Bart Myers. U-1350’s: 1. Somsay Rumpakone. 2. John Baladad. U-1150’s: 1. Pete Malek. 2. D. Helmick. U-1000’s: 1. John Klein. 2. Kim Kvallheim.  Esquire’s: Bruce Ackerman. 2. Vern Morehead. U-17’s:  Tim Pearson. 2. Tim Lawson. 

Results of the Oct. 5-6 Central Canadian  Open:  Men’s Open: Joe Ng over Alain Bourbonnais, 21, 14, 15. Women’s: Gloria Hsu over Mariann Domonkos,, n.s. Men’s Dounles: Ng/Horatio Pintea over Bao Nguyen/Chris Chu, 9, 15. Women’s Doubles: Hsu/Thanh Mach over Julia Johnson/Becky McKnight, 14, 21. Mixed Doubles:  Ng/Hsu over Domonkos/Pintea, 15, -18, 20. Senior’s: Bill Cheng over Paul Pesthy, 12, -19, 20.  Jr. Men: U-17’s: Trung Le over Johnny Ng, 12, -18, 18. Jr. Miss U-17’s: Crystal Daniel over Lucie Drouin, 18, 12. Boys U-14’s: 1. Gia Ly. 2. J. Nga. 3. T. Le. Boys U-12: Nelson Ferreira over Andrew Wilson, 7, 3.

U-2000’s: J. Ng over Sanjay Issar, 12, 14. U-1800’s: Minh Lu over Shih Lin, 13, -21, 19.  U-1800 Doubles: Daniel Leung/Shih  over Ned McLennan/Robert da Silva, 19, 15. U-1600’s: Gary Pantry over Rajiv Singh, 17, -17, 19. U-1400’s: Nilton Gutierrez over Peter Kosek, 12, 11. U-1200’s: Anthony Brabrook over Christine Paquet, -15, 12, 23. U-1000’s: Brabrook over Carlos Lima, 15, 13. U-800’s: Julio Hidalgo over Lima, 15, 13. 

Winners at the Brown-Brissett Open, played Oct. 19-20 at Westfield, NJ: Open Singles: Brian Masters over Rey Domingo, 10, -20, 17, -16, 13. Women’s R.R. Singles: 1. Flora Ng. 2. Joan Fu. 3. Shazzi Felstein. 4. Luz (Brown) Brissett. Open Doubles: George Brathwaite/Domingo over Masters/Randy Seemiller, 14, 20.Women’s A’s: Fu over Marg Hzeih, 13, 11. U-2250’s: Brian Eisner over Jien Liu, 15, 14, 22. U-2050’s: Maximo Vasquez over Chi-Sun Chui, 12, 19. U-1950’s: Don Peters over Billy Lipton, 20, -19, 17. U-1850’s: Marv Plevinsky over Lloyd Nesfield, 13, 18. U-1750 Doubles: Tony Gegelys/Huang over Wong/Wong, 19, 21. U-1750’s: Don Miller over Fu, 17, -5, 8. U-1600’s: Wing Eng over Michael Coke, -17, 13, 15. U-1600 Doubles: Tibor Miskoczi/ Gegelys over Rabin/Al Matlosz, -18, 16, 17. U-1450’s: Eng over Benjamin Lu, 17, 16. U-1300’s: Eng over James Zaiser, 9, 15. U-1150’s: Larry Pickett over Arthur Dickinson, 18, 14. U-1000’s: Benjamin Yeh over Steve Fink, 18, 22. Unrated: Joseph Yee over Anthony Truong, 18, 12. Esquire’s: Bob Barns over Marcy Monasterial, 18, -12, 18. Senior’s: Bill Sharpe over Brathwaite, 17, 16. Senior A’s: Barns over Hzeih, 17, 18. U-17’s: Henry Ong over Troung, 19, -19, 14. U-13’s: Troung over Sandeep Tamhankar.  

Results of Power Poon’s Louisiana Fall Open: Open Singles: 1. Saubana Adio. 2. Roberto Byles. 3. Bob Russell. 4. Hector Bennett. Women’s Singles. 1. Shirley Woo. Pigool “Peggy” Kulchurnpises. 3. Lyra Katena. 4. Pepper Vining. Open Doubles: R. Byles/ Bennett over Russell/Ernie Byles. A’s: 1. E. Byles. 2. Tunde Jacobs. 3. Roland Schilhab. 4. Abdul Moghrabi. A Doubles: E. Byles/Alex Poon over Jacobs/Adeloye. B’s: 1. E. Byles. 2. Will Humphrey. 3. T.H. Chew. 4. Bud Caughman. B Doubles: Schilhab/Sarka Dura over E. Byles/B. Ly. C’s: 1. Woo. 2. Alfred Jacobs. 3. Mel Evans. 4. Greg Kelly. M [?] Doubles: Adio/Woo over Jacobs/Kulcharnpises. D’s: 1. George Shofoluwe. 2. Jim Leggett. 3. Ben Chiu. 4. Eddie Sanderson. E’s: 1.Bill Plue. 2. David Holden. 3. Michael Lauro. 4. Herb Bennett. N’s: 1. Dat Hoang. 2. Holden. 3. Randall Kahl. 4. William Anglin. Handicap: 1. Russell. 2. Dura. 3. Holden. 4. Wayne Schulz. Senior’s: 1. Power Poon. 2. Chiu. 3. Schulz. 4. Leggett. U-17’s: 1. A. Poon. 2. Lauro. 3. Eric Owens. 4. Oliver Hung. U-13’s: 1. Lauro. 2. Owens. 

Tim Boggan reports on the Maryland Open, held Oct. 11-13 in Towson, MD:

Class, cash, and camaraderie—that’s what you got for your money at the 220-entry $10,000 Maryland Open.

The tournament was held on the beautiful Towson State University campus, with its soft, easy-on-your-feet playing venue—but, o.k., agreed, the floor was a little too ball-losing beige-colored, and the ball didn’t bounce as high as everyone might like it to. But no finding fault with the brand new Stiga tables and barriers (encomiums of course from Darren Liu who won the raffled-off table), the Schildkraut balls, and the good lighting that allowed you to see the spin on the ball.

In the 80-entry Men’s Singles, the gods unexpectedly failed to qualify the two players who’d been expected to play each other in the round of 32. Out went 2319 Dave Sakai, out and away from Towson and table tennis for the remainder of the weekend, beaten soundly by the clearly underrated Barney Reed (going on to receive an unexpected $100 in prize money); and out went 2268 George Cameron, apparently losing so badly that whenever I saw him he was reduced to such a state of mouth and finger play with infant son Sean that I thought they might take him away.

Although Swedish penhold player/coach/administrator Christian Lillieroos (winner of the U-2150’s over Ohio’s Bob Cordell) served up some behind-the-back and under-the-leg twisters to challenge ’85 CNE Champ Alain Bourbonnais, 18, -19, -19, -13, the most talked-about early match in the Men’s was Enoch Green’s four-game upset of Pan Am Champ Brian Masters.

While the tall, carrot-stick-slender Enoch, a confirmed vegetarian, has been fasting from the tournament scene for at least a year, he continues to play hour after hour, day after day, when and wherever he can. No, he said, his win didn’t surprise him; he’d never lost to Brian.

As for the Women’s Singles, there was $700 in prizes and straight-game predictable play with nine-time Canadian Champion Mariann Domonkos ($400) winning over Minnesota’s Takako Trenholme ($200).

No Women’s Doubles, but in the Mixed, Mariann and Horatio Pintea won 18, 21 over Danny Seemiller and Flora Ng who’d stopped Scott Boggan and Kalavathi Panda, 21, 19. And in the U-2350’s, though Domonkos beat Jerry Thrasher and Bill Sharpe, she lost in a close four-game final to Barry Dattel. Sharpe, who not only won the 50’s easily over me, but the 40’s as well with somewhat of an historic win over George Brathwaite, said that Mariann was the “steadiest” opponent he’d played during the weekend. “She’d make a great practice partner,” he exclaimed. “To tell the truth, I just enjoyed watching her play, and I was playing her!”

In his 2350’s semi, Dattel just got by his real practice partner Eyal Adini when, at 21-all in the third, Eyal’s surprise cross-court attacking chop return of serve just went long, and then Barry patiently rolled until he got a ball to loop in for the winner.

In the 3/5 final against Domonkos, Barry, up 2-0 and at 20-all in the third, served…and watched as Mariann passed him with a return. Then she followed her own serve with a relentless succession of loops to stand strong. But in the fourth game, rallying but still down 20-19 match point, Mariann, falling as she swung for the point she needed, came up short…on the seat of her pants.

I’ll return to the Men’s matches shortly, but first here are the winners of events I don’t cover otherwise (ALL the events paid money): Men’s Doubles: Final: Brandon Olson/Khoa Nguyen over Sean O’Neill/Chartchai Teekaveerakit, 16, 19 (Chartchai suffering a leg cramp in the first game). Semi’s: Olson/Nguyen over Danny/Ricky Seemiller, 19, 18; O’Neill/Teekaveerakit over Boggan/Masters, 14, -14, 14. U-2000’s: Max McAllister over Dave Strang, 15, 15. U-3800 Doubles: Dattel/Joan Fu over Masters/Steve Emmons, 14, 19. U-1850’s: Marv Plevinsky over Steve Hochman, 12, 18. U-1550’s: Margaret Hzeih over Christopher Costley, 14, -18, 25, then over David Yee. U-1400’s: Steve Yee over Wing Lee, 18, -17, 16. U-2800 Doubles: Yee/Yee over Emmons/Karl Schulz who, though defaulting the final, had advanced over Titus/Stephens, 19, -18, 20. U-1200’s: Mark Pierce over Alvis Jenkins, 14, 18. U-1000’s: Robert Waxman over Dennis Gross, 19, 21. U-17’s: Billy Lipton over Marta Zurowski, 18, 15.  

In the Men’s eighth’s, six of the matches were routine. But Canadian National Team member Bao Nguyen valiantly fought off Rey Domingo before going down in the fifth. And Brandon Olson, unable to control Sean O’Neill’s point-making play, lost a 15, -15. -20, -20 swing match by pushing too many balls.

It was clear that the Canadian Nguyen was stronger technically at serve and returning serve than the U.S. Nguyen who was beaten in straight games by Ricky Seemiller in the eighth’s. Though Khoa was winning tournament after tournament in California, he really hadn’t had much experience playing good players and various types of games. “But he’s learning,” Coach Danny said.

Bao, on the other hand, in the semi’s of the U-21’s, which he lost to Chartchai 19 in the third, handled the Thai Champion’s tricky serves very well—so well, in fact, that if at the end he hadn’t missed two cross-court blocks and a forehand, all for winners, he very likely would have taken the match. “I hate it!” yelled Bao to his Canadian corner on coming off court. “Losing every match, I hate it!”

In the other U-21 semi’s, O’Neill downed Masters in straight games. True, Sean isn’t at the Lake Placid Center like some of his peers here, but he’s practicing every school day at George Washington University with his at home live-in coach and confidant Chartchai and others.

In the Men’s quarter’s, Danny seemed to have found his game, Rey to have lost it.

And though Perry Schwartzberg had looked good in winning three straight from Bourbonnais, he was just 16, 14, 19 too slow to get going against Teekaveerakit. Perry was disappointed that his Lake Placid coach Danny had been playing his own quarter’s match and couldn’t be in his corner. “I needed Danny from the start in this one. If I could just do it over—play all topspin against Chartchai, I think I could beat him for sure.”

In the bottom half of the draw, mercurial Scott Boggan, who hadn’t touched a racket since his Hoosier Open win six weeks before, but who had beaten Sharpe and Enoch “The Grip” Green, was down 20-18 in the first against the ’84 Canadian National Champion and #2 seed Horatio Pintea. But Scott came through with four fist-up winners and Hory was forever after fighting just to stay in the match. Up 2-0 but down 14-15 in the third, Scott stopped play and protested at length the umpire’s call of “Fault” against Pintea. But the umpire was adamant: 15-all. This point and Scott’s cool end-game demeanor made all the 21-19 difference. Match three straight to Boggan who had yet to lose a game.

In the remaining quarter’s, Ricky won out over Sean, -12, 19, 21, 11. Sean later said that, instead of using his backhand against Ricky, he stepped around his forehand too often and repeatedly was out of position. Ricky had pointed out to me before the match how he had recently come to a startling realization: for all these years when in mid-point he’d flipped his racket to his anti side or vice-versa to his inverted, he’d twirled it in the wrong direction—so now when he flips, he twirls it the other way and, amazing, the angle of his racket is in a much better position for the follow-up shot.

Ricky Seemiller

During the $400 semi’s match between Scott and Ricky, Scott continually dropped his racket and complained, “I just can’t play.” He was sometimes throwing away strings of points so fast that Seemiller several times put up his hand to stop Boggan from fast-serving away the game. But then suddenly Scott, down 20-13, scored five spectacular winners and moved the score to 20-18 before losing the game. Boggan lost the second in much the same way with Seemiller again raising his hand as if in protest at winning so many points so fast. Scott did win the third game but match to Ricky in four.

In the other semi’s, Danny beat Chartchai 13, -8, 12, 14, something he had not been doing for the last year. Danny said afterward, “I decided to play Chartchai a little differently this time. I knew I couldn’t block passively, couldn’t let him get into his loop-to-my-block rhythm, so when he got the serve---and with his topspin follow he can get five points before you so much as blink—I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to have any bad strings against his service and so I stiffened my blocks, especially to his backhand and middle. This time, then, it wasn’t me who blocked passively but Chartchai whose weak serve returns allowed me to attack.”

Chartchai Teekaveerakit

In the all-Seemiller final (First: $1200; Second: $800), Danny began by putting up the ball to Ricky’s forehand, but since Ricky was spinning so well, Danny on losing the first game changed tactics and began aggressively pinning Ricky to his backhand, and from then on had absolutely no problem.

“This new Lake Placid environment,” Danny said upon winning his second straight tournament, “has been good for me. The daily coaching and playing makes a difference—helps me to concentrate. My mind really hasn’t been on the game for a couple of years now. And when that happens you begin saying to yourself, “Hey, I don’t think I can beat this guy or that guy. But when you’re practicing every day and you’re out there week after week playing matches that thought never surfaces.”

The tournament was run by an excellent experienced staff led by Tournament Director Dennis Masters, Maryland Association President Yvonne Kronlage, Public Relations Director Jay Harris, Physical Operations Director Dick Evans, and Registration and Control Desk Managers Sue Evans, Donna Sakai, Chip Barnett, Phil Van Dusen, and helpers Fred Tepper and Mary Masters among others.

Local MTTA booster Marty Staehlin was awarded a plaque for his ongoing support, and there was a Program book honoring Marty (that Catherine and Referee Erich Haring contributed to) that netted $3,000.