Great Comeback By Fleidl At Windhoek Open

Heiko Fleidl made two big comebacks to take top honours at the Windhoek Open Table Tennis Championships over the weekend.

The tournament, hosted by the Namibian Table Tennis Association (NTTA) at the Holy Cross Convent School in the heart of Windhoek, was a Level 1 event with maximum ranking points up for grabs.

Since its inception in 1971, the tournament was played every year from there on, making this year’s edition number 43. Roger Bryant from Tsumeb was the first player to win this prestigious award.

After beating Ashley Julius and Reinhardt Stanley in the knock-out play-offs, the current number one ranked, Fleidl faced an equally g Rudi Saunderson in the semi-final leg.

The pair kept spectators on the edge of their seats with top class table tennis. Saunderson got off to a better start, winning the first two sets 11-6 and 11-9.

With his back against the wall, Fleidl upped his game tremendously. As the game progressed, Fleidl fought back with everything and eventually triumphed over his rival with 11-5, 11-4 and 11-8 in the remaining three sets.

In the final, the current top seeded faced the number two ranked, Cui Yunke. Again Fleidl was on the receiving end during the two first sets, going down 11-5, 11-7.

Chinese native Yunke looked set to add the Windhoek Open title to his collection of trophies, but Fleidl had other ideas, staging another huge, if not impossible, comeback to win the prestigious title for the first time in his career (11-9, 11-4, 11-8). The bronze medals went to Schurz and Saunderson.

The defending champion, Ramon Hansen, ended up winning the Senior Plate division, where he had to play after losing his first game against Yunke.

In the final, he triumphed over Johann Malan, the defending plate champion, in another five-game thriller (11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 6-11, 7-11).

Hansen then added another title to his name after he and Saunderson dominated the senior doubles division, as so often during this year.

They beat Fleidl and Reinolt Schurz 11-9, 11-7, 1-11, 11-4 in the final. Cui Yunke and Wang Yuging beat Roger Beukes and Ashley Julius in the third place play-off to secure bronze.

One of Namibia’s brightest young talents, PW Steenkamp, who travelled from Stampriet to the capital with plenty of confidence after his school’s win at the Inter-School championship a fortnight ago, was the surprise winner of the junior U18 boys division.

He faced the number one ranked junior and national player Darren Strauss (Westside High School) in the singles final, after a narrow 3-2 win against number 2 seed, Dietrich Mowes (DHPS).

Strauss had so far enjoyed a majority of tournament wins throughout the season and it seemed that the Windhoek Open title was going to have his name engraved on it as well after he won the first set 12-10.

Steenkamp however overcame the bad start and put in all efforts for an impressive comeback. Time and time again he won vital points as Strauss couldn’t find an answer to Steenkamp’s onslaught, and went on to win the next three sets 11-6, 11-7, 11-5. Dietrich Moumlwes and Conwin van Wyk collected third place bronze medals.

Steenkamp and Strauss then teamed up for the U18 boys doubles. In the final they faced Conwin van Wyk and Ronaldo Vogel (Rehoboth High School). The latter had no response for the consistent play by Strauss and Steenkamp and had to settle for silver, while bronze was won by Dietrich Moumlwes and Andi Fechter (DHPS).

Meanwhile Andreas Fechter won the U18 boys plate category with Maurise Kunz coming second in an all-DHPS final.

The U18 girl’s final was once again contested by Reese Saunderson and Kaitlyn Beukes and the talented pair showed exactly why they dominated throughout the season. With the prestigious Windhoek Open trophy up for grabs, it was Saunderson who found the winning formula to turn the game in her favor. The pair again played an exciting, closely contested match before Sanderson won the match 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8.

Saunderson and Beukes then teamed up and again underlined their superiority in the girls doubles division by continuing their undefeated run for 2014, with a clear 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 win over Anja Steenkamp and Leandi Dreyer in the final. Ciara Thornburn and Karla Burger secured the bronze medal.

Leandi Dreyer then won the Girls Plate division against Karla Burger in straight sets, 11-9, 11-5.

Source : The Namibian