Timothy Wang is the top seed in Burnaby
Photo By: Thorsten Gohl
2014 ITTF North America Cup (Click here to access this section)
Winner of the Men’s Singles title at the United States National Championships in Las Vegas last December, Timothy Wang heads the men’s list for the forthcoming 2014 ITTF-North America Cup to be staged in Burnaby, Canada on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th June
In addition to the Men’s Singles crown, in Las Vegas Timothy Wang also added the Mixed Doubles title in partnership with Ariel Hsing but the 22 year old was very much upstaged by a young man eight years his junior who is also on duty in Burnaby.
Kanak Jha, who last week celebrated his 14th birthday on Thursday 14th June is the no.6 seed at the 2014 ITTF North America Cup and in Las Vegas he came as near as anyone to ending the title hopes of Timothy Wang.
Full Seven Games
At the semi-final stage he extended Timothy Wang the full five match distance (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5), before rather more comfortably, Timothy Wang overcame surprise finalist Cory Eider to reserve the top step of the medal podium (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7).
Defeat in the Men’s Singles event for Kanak Jha but to reach the penultimate round when only 13 years of age was an outstanding performance; bronze was the colour of his medal but that was not the situation in the Under 21 Men’s Singles, Junior Boys’ Singles and Cadet Boys’ Singles events. In all three he struck gold.
In the Under 21 Men’s Singles competition he accounted for Bryant Lin in the final (11-3, 11-7, 11-8), in the Junior Boys’ Singles the final victim was Kunal Chodri (11-6, 11-8, 11-5); whilst in the Cadet Boys’ Singles gold medal contests it was Krishnateja Avvari (11-6, 11-8, 11-7).
Silver in Westchester
Gold for Timothy Wang in the National Championships but one year ago at the ITTF-North America Cup staged in Westchester, New York in April, Timothy Wang had to settle for runners up spot.
He was beaten in the final by Canada’s André Ho, the second seed in Burnaby and, as at the United States National Championships later in the year, Timothy Wang had to withstand some nervous moments en route to the final.
On the opening day of play, Saturday 20th April, occupying the third seeded position in the draw, he suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Canada’s Xavier Therien, the no.5 seed (8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6). He finished in second place in the group with the Canadian in first place.
Fortunately for Timothy Wang, all 12 players from the opening phase progressed to the main draw, as is the situation in 2014, with the players finishing in first place in each of the four groups, receiving a direct entry to the quarter-finals.
Timothy Wang duly emerged successful in his opening round contest beating Bermuda’s Dwayne Hill (11-2, 11-5, 11-2), before causing one of the first day’s biggest shocks. He ousted Canada’s Pierre-Luc Theriault, the top seed and defending champion, at the quarter-final stage. Rising to the challenge, Timothy Wang posted a most impressive three straight games win over the powerful Canadian (11-7, 11-8, 11-5).
In 2014, Pierre-Luc Theriault is the third seed behind the defending champion Canada’s André Ho, who like Timothy Wang, was on duty at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is graduating from being a promising teenager into a senior player of note.
Notably, he won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the North American Championships in Rochester in 2006 and successfully defended the title in 2007 in Laval; whilst in 2008, he won the Junior Boys’ Singles crown in Las Vegas.
He is now 22 years old in a tournament that sees quite a range in the age spectrum.
Kanak Jha is the youngest player being one of four teenagers in duty,
Billy Xu Ding from the United States is 18 years old, whilst the Canada’s Filip Ilijevski is 15 years old and colleague Alexander Moran 16 years of age. Filip Ilijevski is the no.9 seed with Alexander Moran and Billy Xu Ding being the next in line.
All three are aspiring young players; however, for the player listed one place higher than Filip Ilijevski; it is the reverse scenario.
Jim Butler who played in the 1989 World Championships in Dortmund and represented the United States at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and four years later in Atlanta, is the no.8 seed; at 43 years of age he is the voice of experience in Burnaby.