America's Jimmy BUTLER claims his first ever ITTF-North America title after upsetting top seeded Timothy WANG (USA) at the recently concluded 2015 ITTF-North America Cup on 17 May 2015 in Markham, Canada.
The ITTF-North America Cup is the continental qualification for the ITTF Men's & Women's World Cups later this year, with the winners gaining direct entry to the prestigious events.
After garnering the golden ticket to the Men's World Cup, the 44 year old expressed "Winning this title is the best of my 2nd career and the most amazing feeling, it felt like I'm in table tennis heaven! I have never won a big North American title before, I was the runner-up at 4 North American Championships in the past, and so this victory is simply amazing!"
In an intensely contested Men's Singles gold medal match, the American duo pulled off amazing rallies to thrill the crowd. Butler eventually emerged successful to defeat his compatriot 4-2 (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6).
After his victory, Butler shared, "I'm really surprised that I actually played my best match of the tournament in the finals tonight, that was very unexpected. Timothy looked better than me the whole tournament, but once the match started, I was able to deal with all of his shots and got into a good rhythm. I played very consistent and mistake-free, which is one thing I've always been striving to do."
It was another remarkable victory for USA, with Butler making his breakthrough at the 2015 ITTF-North America Cup at 44, Kanak JHA (USA) made history when he won the 2014 edition to become the youngest winner of an ITTF continental event at the age of 14.
In the Women's Singles Finals, it was the host nation's ZHANG Mo who outshined the top seed, Lily ZHANG (USA). The 26 year old Canadian took down the 2014 Youth Olympics bronze medalist 4-1 (11-3, 11-1, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7) to retain her title.
After securing her crown, ZHANG stated, "I think I prepared very well for the finals against Lily. She's higher ranked than me, so I was always ready to fight during the match."
"I am elated to qualify for the Women's World Cup later this year. Last year I lost in the qualifications, so I hope to advance further this year!"
Qualifications for the 2015 ITTF Men's & Women's World Cups:
- Current World Champion: MA Long (CHN), DING Ning (CHN)
- NN Table Tennis Club 2015 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), Marcos FREITAS (POR), Panagiotis GIONIS (GRE), LIU Jia (AUT), Petrissa SOLJA (GER), Irene IVANCAN (GER)
- GAC Group 2015 Asian Cup: XU Xin (CHN), Jun MIZUTANI (JPN), FENG Tianwei (SIN), LIU Shiwen (CHN)
- K-Sports 2015 ITTF-Oceania Cup: William HENZELL (AUS), LAY Jian Fang (AUS)
- Double Fish 2015 ITTF-North America Cup: Jimmy BUTLER (USA), ZHANG Mo (CAN)