US Brother Duo Deliver Final Blow to China in Canadian Junior Team Event

By Matt Hetherington | May 30, 2018, 12:02 a.m. (ET)

The US brother duo of Sharon and Gal Alguetti have achieved what few international teams hope for in the sport of table tennis. Today at the Canadian Cadet and Junior Open in the final of the Junior Boy's team event, the US pair defeated China in a result that left onlookers simply in awe. 

The two brothers, playing out of the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center in New Jersey, are among a sizeable US contingent of teams across the cadet and junior boys and girls events. The two man team format kicked off yesterday and continued to completion today. 

On day one of the competition China had blocked the brothers at their first hurdle, winning in a close 3-2 encounter. The Chinese duo comprised of China Super League players Sun Zheng and teammate Yang Qulong. Sharon Alguetti wasted no time in defeating both players in excellent form, but the Chinese pair both won over Gal Alguetti and stole away the doubles to win in the fifth. A strong opening for the US pair to start their tournament, but the result was not to be. 

In the next round the pair took out Canada 2, the combo of Alexander Bu and Edward Ly also losing out their 2 singles to Sharon, while Ly was able to defeat Gal, the doubles went in favor of the brothers, currently the reigning US National Men's Doubles Champions. A win on the board and the Alguettis were moving forward. 

Meanwhile the United States 1 team of Victor Liu and Michael Tran registered 3 team victories on their first day of competition. 

As day 2 dawned the Alguetti brothers would take on the home favorites, Canada 1, in the quarterfinals. Sharon Alguetti was pushed to five by left hander Terence Yeung, but sealed the win, along with a 3-1 win over Canadian Cup champion Jeremy Hazin. The pair of Canadian lefties put up a good fight, Hazin having given the first point to his team with a win over Gal Alguetti, 3-1, but the American team again showed their dominance in the important doubles match and came through to close out a win.

USA 1 also cruised through their quarterfinal over Canada 4.

In the semifinals the two United States teams met. USA 1 vs. USA 2. On this occasion the Alguetti brothers would complete a clean sweep. Sharon Alguetti led out with a 3-0 win over Michael Tran, Gal followed up by overcoming Victor Liu in four games and the two teamed up to capture the doubles and advance into the final. 

In the deciding clash they would again meet the same Chinese team which had so narrowly defeated them on day 1. The order was no different, could they turn the result around in the most important match of all?

To begin with an answer to that it was Sharon Alguetti, thus far undefeated, who continued his dominant run. He clawed back from a 2-1 deficit to give USA the lead, with a 3-2 win over Wang Qulong. Super League player Sun Zheng leveled with a 3-1 win against Gal Alguetti and the Chinese pair gave themselves a vital advantage by scoring the doubles point. They were now just 1 point away from a familiar Chinese victory.

Alas it was not over, Sharon Alguetti for the second time would defeat Sun, 3 games to 1, leaving China and the USA all tied up going into the fifth match. 

The pressure fell upon the shoulders of Gal Alguetti, but like on so many occasions it was pressure shared. As you would know, an Alguetti never steps out onto the court alone, the brothers are a fighting unit which have become the ultimate force to be reckoned with in US table tennis as they form a formidable team. With father Eyal Alguetti on the bench, supported by LYTTC Coach Cory Eider and of course brother and teammate Sharon, the match took a turn for the unexpected. 

Indeed it was Gal Alguetti who clung to the possibility of a most shocking upset as he fought point for point. Even as he trailed 2 games to 1, he was urged on by his bench and TTTeamUSA on the sidelines. 

In spectacular moments he would swing the match, the final blow fell 11-4 in the 5th game and the Alguettis had defeated China.

Disbelief for the Chinese bench, moments of elation for the USA. 

"In the last game I just really focused on my forehand and tried to keep attacking and adding more power, I played with much more confidence like I really had nothing to lose" - Gal Alguetti.

The brothers, along with older sibling Adar have been training incredibly hard, particularly in the lead-up to this event, spending their Thursday-Sundays at the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center where they undergo hours of practice each day, also competing in the Friday Elite League. Perhaps some words from LYTTC Coach and training partner Cory Eider may help the Chinese pair understand just what happened in those fleeting moments:

"The Alguetti brothers are extremely difficult to beat individually and nearly impossible to beat in a team competition where each one is truly playing for the other" - Cory Eider. 

A thrilling result for the family and for TTTeamUSA. Congratulations to both players on their exceptional performance. You can find the full results from the team event below, along with a video of Sun Zheng (who Sharon beat twice) playing Ma Long in the Chinese Super League.

- Canadian Cadet and Junior Open Results by Day