by Matt Hetherington, the Media and Communications Director for USA Table Tennis
For the Canadian supporters it was a moment of redemption, following the first round exit of no.6 seed Zhang Mo in the women’s singles event.
Eugene Wang, a current world ranking of no.320, winner at last year’s United States Open in Orlando, Florida, world ranked as high as no.55 in 2016, flew the flag.
The match against Cao Wei was nail-biting, all the elements of an absolute rollercoaster. Cao Wei was technically strong, he played with power and precision; Eugene Wang hit back with quick forehand counters early off the bounce and softer more controlled backhand play.
Experienced, Eguene Wang battled it out and fought back from some perilous situations, clawing his way to victory in the third game 12-10 to take a 2-1 lead and stealing the final game under unbelievable pressure by just two points.
Cao Wei always countered back as Eugene asserted himself, winning every alternate game but constantly finding himself ultimately behind in the match as the pattern continued. Eugene Wang either held a one game advantage or was level.
Incredible points had the spectators on their feet as the Markham Pan Am Center audience grew almost to capacity, in the end it was Eugene Wang who was able to push himself through the match, much to the delight of his home crowd.
He advances into the quarter-final where meets Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, can the home favourite continue his run even further? Darko Jorgic is the no.5 seed.