Jishan Liang Captures 2016 Butterfly Badger Open Crown
Tension was high at the 2016 Butterfly Badger Open as 47 players battled it out for the top $3,000 prize in the Open Singles event. Upsets abounded throughout the event, but Jishan Liang survived a few close calls to solidify his top seed status and clinch the title.
Starting in the preliminary round robins, Rajat Hubli, the number 6 seed fell to Lindenwood’s Danny Dulkin in 3 straight games. In the first round of elimination (where matches are best of 7), Danny Seemiller led 3 games to 0 against Mississippi College player & coach Cheng Li before losing 11-9 in the 7th. In the same round, newcomer to the USA table tennis world and new player for the University of Minnesota, Pu Li took down Qingwei Sun from Mississippi College 4-2. Pu Li, who plays with short pips on his backhand, would continue his slew of upsets in the next round (quarterfinals) by beating MDTTC player-coach Bowen Chen 4-0 before coming back from down 1-2 and 2-3 to beat number 2 seed Yutian Wang in the semifinals in a very close 7 game encounter.
On the opposite side of the draw, Jishan Liang breezed through his opening encounters until the semi-final where he faced Tong Zhang from Mississippi College. Confident and poised, Jishan looked in control of the game but Tong continued to fight back, changing the pace of his forehand loops to force errors from Jishan. A huge sigh of relief from the number one seed when he finally won the 7th game 11-9.
Jishan and Pu split the first two games of the final. At 1-1 in games and 11-11 in the third, Jishan pulled out a few important crucial points to win the game and change the momentum of the match. Now at a 2-1 lead and with momentum on his side, Jishan dominated the last two games to win 4-1 and claim the 2016 Butterfly Badger Open title.
Continual coverage of the Badger Open and stories about the athletes will be available at ButterflyOnline.com, or via Butterfly North America’s Twitter and Facebook pages.