In this corner: a lefty with great touch, great blocking, and a strong forehand, who's won Men's Doubles 12 times and Mixed Doubles 8 times at the USA Nationals.
Also in this corner: a righty two-winged looper who's equally comfortable blocking or attacking, who twice won Men's Doubles at the Chinese Championships, and who, after immigrating to the U.S., won Men's Doubles 4 times and Mixed Doubles 5 times at the USA Nationals.
They are the Dream Team of Dan Seemiller and Cheng Yinghua, USATT Hall of Famers with powers and abilities far beyond those of normal players. But the real question is whether these powers and abilities will earn the 60-64 Men's Doubles and Singles crowns for USA here at the 2018 World Veterans Championships. Dan turned 64 in June, and Cheng will turn 60 in November - ages are as of Dec. 31. (You can read more about Dan in his autobiography, "Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion," available at the Butterfly booth or directly from Butterfly.)
Both are better known for their singles, with each dominating USA for many years. And yet, insiders have always known that both are even better at doubles than singles. Dan's great touch, especially on receive, and table savvy combines with Cheng's relentless topspins and steadiness for a formula that could corner gold.
In their preliminary round robins played three doubles matches. They won the first two by the following scores: 11-2, 11-1, 11-1, 11-2, 11-1, 11-2! Then they faced . . . Zoran Kalinic! He was the 1983 World Men's Doubles Champion, and at the 1989 Worlds was second in both Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. He's a 6'5" towering lefty penhold doubles specialist - how was he in the same preliminary group as Cheng/Seemiller? However, his Canadian partner wasn't quite as strong, and Cheng/Seemiller won, 9,6,5.
The doubles quest continues on Friday at 11AM on table 41, the round of 64. However, both are also among the favorites in 60-64 Men's Singles and have three rounds scheduled on Thursday, the rounds of 128, 64, and 32:
Cheng: 2PM table 71; 5:30PM table 53; 7:30PM table 49
Seemiller: 2PM table 87; 5:30PM table 61; 7:30PM table 53.
Come on out and cheer for them! (Ask for autographs after any match.) To find the rest of their schedule (once it's up), or for schedules of other players, go to Results, click on Players and then Participants, then type in the last name.