Over 120 players were signed up for the U2500 rated single’s event at the 2019 Seamaster US Open in Fort Worth, Texas on Dec 17-21. The player who clinched first place honors was Samson Dubina. By applying his technique and tactics as well as receiving pivotal advice from fellow coach Chance Friend, 9th seed Dubina defeated Joey Cochran in the finals with a decisive 3-0 game count.
Dubina is well regarded for his stellar Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy in Akron, Ohio. He’s currently amid two winter instructional camps that have players of all ages and levels coming in to receive sage advice from one of the best coaching minds in the USA. Beyond his coaching prowess, this recent win at the US Open also demonstrates Dubina’s solid commitment to table tennis in his individual pursuit of improvement.
When asked how he felt about winning the U2500 event, Dubina stated,
“Going into the event as 9th seed, I wasn't the favorite to win. I didn't play extremely well, but I played tactically correct making good choices with serve, receive, aggressiveness, and shot selection. With playing the right shots, taking it point by point, and staying calm, I was able to overcome the odds and take the title.”
Although Dubina had several matches where he didn’t drop a game, including the final, on his quest to the top, he did encounter some challenges in the round of 16 and the semifinals. On paper, his round of 16 opponent Vasyl Kushnir was rated 415 but, as Dubina observed, “he was around 2400-2500 level.” Dubina recalled the match, “Down 2-1, I called timeout in the middle of the 4th, adjusted my game-plan (thanks to Chance Friend) and made a great comeback to win the 4th and 5th.”
In his semifinals match he played Hector Berrios, “the toughest opponent in the event.” Dubina again used shrewd tactics, saying, “I was able to stay very close and push him back. Using mainly close counterloops against his far counterloop, I had a huge advantage to win and took it 3-1.”
Dubina had some words of wisdom, summarized below, for aspiring table tennis athletes who are looking to apply training and technique in a tournament setting and win an event like he did:
“#1 Prepare”- big accomplishments are the good consequences of practicing
“# 2 Play normal”- players should be aware of all elements of their game and should play the same way in events as they do in their practice.
“#3 Let it happen”- lLet muscle memory take over in matches and don’t dwell too much on what to do right. Have faith in your body’s conditioning.
“# 4 Re-group”- Have perseverance, regardless of how good or bad your results are in a tournament. Every match you play can be used to improve.
Congratulations to Samson Dubina on winning the much deserved U2500 event at the US Open!