The 2014 US Nationals was a great learning experience for all students.
8 and 2 are the numbers for Fremont Table Tennis Academy at the 2014 US Nationals.
8 students and 2 coaches attended
10 (8+2) round of 16 (8*2) or better finishes
4 ( 8/2) top 8 finishes (quarterfinals or better)
1 (2/2) top 4 (8/2) finish (3rd place)
Here are the detailed results:
Under 1800-Round of 16-Pranav Tantravahi (lost to eventual champion), Pruthvi Innamuri (lost to top seed)
Under 1700-3rd Place-Pranav Tantravahi, Round of 16-Pruthvi Innamuri (lost to eventual champion)
Under 1200-Quarters-Rahul Vaidun
Under 1000-Quarters-Atul Raman, Ashwin Sankuratri, Round of 16-Rishab Amudhasagaran
Boys 10 Years and Under-Round of 16-Ashwin Sankuratri
Under 3200 Doubles-Round of 16-Rahul Vaidun/Rithwik Vaidun
It was very important for the students to attend this tournament to gain valuable experience. Despite trying to prepare them as well as possible, there’s no replacing actually going through the heat of competition with nationals pressure. Pranav Tantravahi won a 3rd place medal in the Under 1700 event and now has 4 straight major US tournaments with a top 3 finish. In general, the draws were not favorable to our academy students. There were 5 situations where academy players had to play the eventual champion or top seed in the round robin stage or the first round after the round robin stage. For Pranav to get his 3rd place finish, he had to beat some really tough competition and was 2 points from losing on 3 different occasions but pulled through. In the semis, he had match point but lost deuce in the fifth and forgot the strategy at times at the end of the 5th game.
Since my players are relatively inexperienced in tournaments as they are more at the beginning stages of their table-tennis careers, they would forget the strategy or show nerves at critical moments which cost them matches. My youngest students couldn’t hold back tears at times right after losing. Atul had multiple match points in the quarters of the Under 1000 but couldn’t pull it out so almost got a medal at his first nationals. If he had less trouble with his opponent’s serve, he would have won the match. Ashwin played a great match in the round of 16 match in the Boys 10 Years and Under against the #3 seed who had a rating of over 1,800 and lost very close games that could have gone either way. He had a chance to get 3rd place in Boys 10 Years and Under despite being the #23 seed out of 30 participants but he didn’t follow the strategy as well as he could have but he will learn from this experience. Rahul (who had a nice run in Under 1200 making quarters) and younger brother Rithwik had a nice surprise where they led 2-1 in the final 16 of the Under 3200 doubles. I only entered them in the event for fun as they were the lowest seeds but were 1 game from making the quarters!
I had 5 students (Rishab, Rahul, Rithwik, Ashwin, and Atul) playing the lowest rating events starting with Under 1,000 and 3 more experienced players (Sruti, Pranav, and Pruthvi) playing events from 1,600-2,100. Pranav nearly advanced out of his round robin in the highest rating event that he was entered in (Under 2100) as he beat the top seed and led 2-0 in games in the other two matches. His foot was hurting in those matches but don’t know if that cost him those matches. However, as you get tired, you start missing. All players advanced out of the first stage in at least one event.
All my students are really looking forward to the 2015 US Open which is scheduled to be in Las Vegas again. It was great fun for them but also for me to see them play different opponents all the time. It was rewarding as you want your students to win badly and are so engrossed in the matches but have to view tactics with a clear head. I feel very good overall and I think my students do too that they went to Nationals.