US Players Making a Mark in European League Competition

By Matt Hetherington | Nov. 05, 2018, 4:36 p.m. (ET)

Michael Tran teamusa table tennis us national team

US players have had their share of successes overseas as they gain new experiences in European leagues. With three US National Team players currently living overseas and a host of other players competing periodically in league teams, the step is a big move forward in developing the current top US players.

The initiative, arranged by USATT High Performance Director Joerg Bitzigeio, has seen multiple players making their debut overseas in the past weeks. 

Lily Zhang took on a tough opposition in the first division Bundesliga and came away with a win over Sabine Winter, currently ranked 61 in the world. The win helped the team secure a 6-4 victory and take the top spot on the league table. 

Competing in the 4th division Men's, Victor Liu represented TSG Kaiserslautern and was able to fight through a tough battle to win his debut singles match. His next encounter was a thrilling performance against former European Championships bronze medalist Aleksandar Karakasevic. Liu led 2-0 and held match points at 10-9 and again at 11-10, but the experience of Karakasevic held him steady as he won the third. In the 4th game Liu held a 9-5 lead but again the Serbian left hander, infamous for his touch and amazing backhand, came back. Eventually Karakasevic would claim the match 11-9 in the fifth.

With his results, Victor Liu assisted his team in a 9-6 win over their opposition.

Michael Tran also made his first appearance and came up against a familiar foe. Playing alongside SV Union Velbert he took on TTC 1957 Lampertheim, the team of USA's Nick Tio. The two would not face each other as the result was reached right before their scheduled match.

Tran combined with Adrian Dodean to win the first point for the team in the doubles, winning his first league match. He led 2-0 in his singles against Istvan Molnar, but the lead slipped away as the more experienced league player fought back and won three in a row. In the end Tran's team would claim a 6-1 victory. 

In Austria, Jennifer Wu has been making a strong impression, already earlier in the season having defeated Romania's Eliza Samara - one of Europe's top ranked women and a World Cup silver medalist. She also made a significant effort in her 5 set match against Han Ying, a top 20 world ranked player. Wu is 4th equal on the individual standings, having won 6 matches so far.

Kanak Jha picked up a doubles and singles win in his recent match for FSV Mainz 05, both with 3-0 margins. His team currently sits at the top of 2nd division with five team wins. 

In the coming weeks more players will represent teams in Germany, with Adar and Gal Alguetti competing throughout November also.

Keep up with all the results here: German League Match Schedule and Results