Clash of the Styles: Women’s Championship Doubles
By Michael Reff
Women’s doubles finals closed out Friday night of the 2019 iSET college table tennis championships at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in entertaining fashion. It was a clash of the styles as the two teams, Cal Berkeley and Ohlone, had pips players Angela Guan and Ying Wang pitted against a pair of looping lefties, Qiao Jiao and Yiwei Liu. That’s not something you see every day! Typically, the ideal pairing of doubles is a lefty righty duo in order to limit the awkwardness of bumping into each other, but the Ohlone lefties made up for it with blazing footwork and extreme displays of strength against Angela Guan’s loaded underspin chops. It was a hard-fought battle on both sides, but the No. 1 seeded Berkeley Bears ultimately sealed the win.
Ying Wang is a former Ohlone student herself as well as being the 2016 women’s singles national college champion. She has short pips on her forehand side and is a flat hitting attacking player. Angela Guan is a 20-year-old Data Science major who, among many accolades, was a member of team USA for the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships. She has long pips on her backhand rubber, which reverses the spin and allows her to return heavy topspin loops with equally heavier backspin strokes.
The doubles final was not a walk in the park for them. Initially they were up 2-1 in games, but Ohlone battled their way back into the match, ruining the rhythm of Berkeley. As the match continued into a fifth and deciding game, Angela and Ying worked much more in synch, and looked to be running away with the title at 7-1. Finally Ohlone called a belated timeout, but it proved to work to their advantage, as they proceeded to win back the next three points, shortening the margin at 4-7.
This is when Berkeley’s coach made a great call, initiating a timeout that got the Bears back into their stride, winning the next point at 8-4. Ohlone took the following point, but then a backhand smash winner got Berkeley back into their groove. Two more exhilarating points later, and the Berkeley duo, who according to Angela, had never paired up before and had only practiced for one hour before starting their initial doubles matches, finally claimed a championship women’s doubles title. Congrats to the Bears for a great win!
The 2019 iSET College Table Tennis Championships is hosted by the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association and Sports & Properties Inc. and Greensboro CVB and is one of the premier table tennis tournaments in North America featuring 6 events: Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Men’s/Coed Teams, Women’s Teams. The event is sponsored by iSET, Double Happiness, SPI, Greensboro CVB, Double Fish and USA Table Tennis
Players and spectators alike will enjoy a jam-packed weekend of table tennis at the iSET College Table Tennis Championships. The event starts Friday April 12th and continues through Sunday April 14th.
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization established exclusively for promoting the sport of table tennis at the college level. As the national governing body for college table tennis in the United States and Canada, NCTTA organizes intercollegiate competition throughout North America. www.nctta.org
About USA Table Tennis
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USATT is the national organizing body for table tennis in the United States, serving 9,000+ members and nearly 300 clubs. USATT sanctions 200+ events a year including the US Open and US Nationals. USATT is affiliated with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), as well as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). www.usatt.org