Electrifying games at Callies Table Tennis Open

THE Callies 2018 Open championships produced some of the most skilful and entertaining table tennis seen in Port Elizabeth in many years at its new venue at the Feather Market Centre on Saturday.

The highlight of the tournament was the men’s singles event, with some close encounters with all the seeded players moving to the top 16 in the knockout matches.

There was a tight tussle between Shaheid Mamoojee and Michael de Kock in the semi-final. Mamoojee stretched De Kock to four games, but De Kock overcame his opponent 11/8, 11/8, 4/11, 11/8, thanks to some excellent technical strokes.

In the other semi-final, Dipal Bhana, with some skilful play, easily beat Garshen Williams 11/8, 11/7, 11/8.

In the final, Bhana recaptured the title in a three-game win against De Kock, with the final score being 11/8, 11/5, 11/6.

There was much excitement in the men’s doubles semi-final where Daryl Williams and Ashley Martin of Cape Town defeated 2017 winners, the father-and-son pair of Rajesh and Dipal Bhana.

Frans Erasmus and Demos Dracoulides of Cape Town easily beat Michael de Kock and Shaheid Mamoojee 11/8, 11/7 in the other semi-final.

The final was an all-Cape Town encounter in a long match with great entertainment and skilful play, in which Erasmus and Dracoulides eventually beat Williams and Martin 12/10, 9/11, 12/10, 11/7.

The women’s singles semi-final saw Dawne Fortuin of Komani lose in a hard fought three-game match against Eugene Stallenberg 6/11, 15/13, 11/4.

Stallenberg met Xiuyan Li in the finals and Li comfortably won 11/2, 11/5.

The semi-finals of the mixed doubles produced some of the toughest encounters seen locally.

Michael de Kock, pairing with Pumza Makiva of Komani, was taken to three games against Dipal Bhana and Chervon Nysschens, winning 6/11, 11/9, 11/8.

Selvan Sammy and Xiuyan Li, the 2016 winners, were also stretched to three games against Shaheid Mamoojee and Eugene Stallenberg 11/4, 8/11, 11/7.

The final was a humdinger with Sammy and Li defeating De Kock and Makiva, thanks to Li’s tenacious play.

The final score was 7/11, 11/4, 11/8.

The boys’ semi-final between 13-year-old Luthando Tromp of Komani and 15-year-old Rameez Waja of Pretoria saw some of the highest standards of table tennis seen in Port Elizabeth.

Waja overcame Tromp in three tough games 9/11, 11/9, 11/3.

In the final, Waja faced 15-year-old Cohl Simons of Komani, the winner in 2016 and 2017.

Simons playing at his best was pushed to three games, but eventually won 11/4, 9/11, 11/7.

The girls’ final was once again an all Komani affair between the 13-year-old 2017 winner, Nitaya McCuur, and Renisha Jackson.

With some thrilling play, McCuur beat Jackson 11/7, 11/8.

The junior doubles finals will long be remembered by the crowd, who witnessed young talent of the highest level seen locally. Luthando Tromp and Edwaldo Jackson had to succumb to Kyle Simons and Libran Hykes 16/14, 8/11, 11/9.

The boys’ plate final was won by Nikhil Naidoo from East London. He beat Ra’ees Ketshewanetse 11/2, 11/9.