2016 LA Open Table Tennis Tournament Set for September 3 – September 4

The sixth annual LA Open Table Tennis Tournament is scheduled for September 3 and September 4, at the Los Angeles Badminton Club.

This year’s LA Open table tennis tournament, a USATT sanctioned 4-star event, will feature the current number 9 player in the world, Vladimir Samsonov and Hou Yingchao, 2015 L.A. Open winner. There will also be many other top rated players from other parts of the world competing in this high caliber event.

It is worth mentioning that not only providing a platform for top players to showcase their skills, this tournament also offers opportunities to players of various levels and age groups to play and enjoy this highly competitive and fun event.

There will be a total of 15 events to accommodate players of different skill levels and ages. There will be generous prize money and trophies for every event. Open Singles will receive $10,000 and total prize money will exceed $36,000.

Butterfly is the official equipment sponsor of this year’s event, providing international standard tables, balls and tournament and official shirts.

In each of the first five years, LA Open has attracted over 300 players and 2,000 fans from virtually every corner of the world. Canadian Olympian Wang Zhen (Eugene) won the 2011 Open Singles event, and German player Dimitrij Ovtcharov, currently the world’s 5th ranked player, was the Open Singles champion in 2012 and 2013. 2014’s champion was Chuang Chih-Yuan from Taiwan, currently the world’s 7th ranked player.

 

Vladimir Samsonov—Three Time World Cup Singles Champion

Vladimir Samsonov, the Minsk, Belarus born table tennis player, is currently ranked the world’s No. 9, in men’s singles by ITTF.

Samsonov is widely known by two very distinctive nick names: In China, he is called the “Tai Chi Master” because of his superb all-around game, both offensive and defensive play. He is also known as Mr. ECL, (European Champion League), because he has played in the tournament for 15 consecutive years and he has won nine ECL titles.

He started to play table tennis at the age of six at a club near the apartment his family lived at. He was deeply attracted by the game and had shown lots of potential at an early age.

In 1987, at the age of 11, Samonov started international completion and won his first gold medal at the European Championships cadet team event as a USSR player (before the breakup the Soviet Union).

Over the years, Samsonov has lived and played in many European countries, he can communicate effectively in German, English, French, Spanish, Serbian (his wife is from Serbian) and his own mother tone Russian.

Samsonov is the only player in the world that stayed on the ITTF top 10 list for 13 consecutive years. His highest ranking was the ITTF number 1 in 1998

Samsonov is using Tibhar Evolution MX rubber and his name sake blade – Samsonov Force Pro.

With a very successful career spanning over two decades, his advice to the young players are that you should always set your goals high. To achieve the goals, you have to continuously go further by practicing relentlessly. You should always have a healthy lifestyle and professional attitude towards trainings.

When asked about the highest point of his career, Samsonov mentioned that the World Championships in 1997 comes to mind when he made it to the final by defeating four Chinese players in a row. In the final he lost to Jan-Ove Waldner. The same year he won the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals and rose to the first place in the World ranking in 2008. The World Cup win in 2009, the third of his three consecutive World Cup titles, was another high point of his career.

Samsonov’s Career Highlight:

World Championships: Men’s Singles Runner-up 2007
World Cup Singles Champion: 1999, 2001 and 2009
World Tour Winner 26 Times
World Tour Grand Finals: Winner 1997, Runner-up 1996
Europe Top 12: Winner 1998, 1999, 2001, 2007.

 

Hou Yingchao Upsets Joo Sae Hyuk to Win 2015 Butterfly Los Angeles Open
by Barbara Wei

Over 1,500 people filled the Los Angeles Badminton Club stands on the evening of September 6th to watch the world’s best defensive players compete for the $10,000 top prize in the Open Singles event. Both Hou Yingchao and Joo Sae Hyuk had breezed into the finals, a class above their challengers who struggled with their variations in speed, spin, rhythm and pace. A common phrase uttered by those who faced Hou or Joo after hitting another ball into the bottom of the net was “that had so much spin!”

In the final, Joo played the main roll of an attacker and Hou the defender. Joo’s ability to continuous attack Hou’s chops, while 2600-2700 rated players could not, easily demonstrated to the crowd his world class abilities. Unfortunately for Joo, a back injury last week while competing in the Chinese Super League, visibly hindered his abilities in the final. Joo went down 0 games to 3 before winning two games in a row to bring the score to 3-2 before losing 11-3 in game 6 in the best of 7 final. However, at the end of the match both Joo and Hou were jovial and smiling as the crowd cheered for their impressive display of skill and sportsmanship. Friends for over 10 years, Hou and Joo’s comradery was evident in the respect they have for each other as friends and competitors. Hou praised Joo for competing so energetically despite his injury while Joo expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome he received at the event. Both Hou and Joo are interested in making a future appearance at the L.A. Open and look forward to their future competitions for the rest of the year.

The Women’s Singles competition also featured defensive specialists in every round of competition, with last year’s champion Tang Liying repeating her success at this year’s event. En route to the title, Tang took out 2015 US World Team Member Angela Guan 3-1, 2015 Seattle Women’s Runner-Up Zha Wenting 3-2 (11-9 in the fifth in a nail biting semi-final) and finally Liu Ying a defensive player and visitor to the Silicon Valley Table Tennis Club (SVTTC) from China in the final. The match between Tang and Liu proved to be a marathon affair with the first game lasting well over 15 minutes. Tang eventually pulled out the win 11-7 in the 5th game and was all smiles as she left the arena, buoyed by her local Los Angeles fans.

The L.A. Open is one of the biggest USATT 4-star sanctioned tournaments with a unique energetic fan-fueled environment that makes it exciting for players of all levels to attend. With thunder sticks, whistles, over 2,000 spectators and incredible local media representation, the L.A. Open undoubtedly improves spectator appreciation of table tennis in the local Los Angeles population. Tournament committee director Frank Yeh cannot wait to put on an even better event next year.