Upsets Galore At Swakop Open

Upsets and close calls were the order of the day when the Salz Gossow Swakopmund Table Tennis Open took place at the West Side High School over the weekend.

Many juniors travelled to the coast to stake their claim for a trophy and to catch the eyes of selectors for inclusion in development groups.

In the under-18 boys category, Ronaldo Vogel provided an early upset when he beat second seed Dietrich Moumlwes in a taxing five-set match.

Vogel went through as winner in his group and later eliminated fellow Rehoboth High School team-mate, Conwin van Wyk to book a place in the final.

Hometown boy and reigning No.1 seed, Darren Strauss proceeded through the play-offs with ease. In the final against Ronaldo Vogel he underlined why he is top of the rankings and used his home aantage to clinch the under-18 singles title with a dominant 3-0 win. The bronze medals went to Moumlwes and Van Wyk.

The under-18 girls went according to the form book, with top-seeded Kaitlyn Beukes and Reese Saunderson winning their groups and semi-finals to face each other in the final.

Saunderson claimed the first two sets to lead 2-0 against the top seed. Beukes however fought back and levelled the sets at 2-2 to set up a mouth-watering final set.

The final set lived up to expectations and the pair had the crowd on their feet at a number of occasions with great attacking shots and counter strikes.

Saunderson eventually just edged Beukes for a narrow 11-9 in the final set. Bronze medal winners were Ciara Thorburn and Jesse Joseph.

Beukes and Strauss then joined forces to battle Saunderson and Moumlwes in the final of the under-18 mixed doubles.

As expected, this final went down to the wire with Beukes and Strauss narrowly beating Saunderson and Moumlwes 3-2.

Beukes and Strauss however had to dig deep in the final set when they appeared defeated at 5-0 down.

However, the No.1’s remarkably fought back to eventually claim the nail-biting and deciding set 13-11.

Jesse Joseph and Ronaldo Vogel claimed the bronze medal.

The senior men’s section also added their share of excitement and upsets to the tournament.

Veteran Theo Beukes, only ranked 14th, arrived at the event with a mission as he ended the play-offs top of arguably the gest group, where he shocked No.1 Heiko Fleidl and also ended the aspirations of Rudi Saunderson and Roger Beukes.

Theo Beukes continued his fine form as he eliminated Reinolt Schurz in the quarter final before he produced one of the biggest shocks of the event when he eliminated one of the tournament favourites Ramon Hansen in the semis.

Another surprise came from 16th-ranked Swakopmund player Derick Rooza, who beat second-ranked Ashley Julius and Reinardt Stanley during the play-off matches.

His good run continued in the quarter finals, where he eliminated Johan Malan before finally coming unstuck in a semi-final against Fleidl, who booked his spot in the final against first round nemesis Theo Beukes.

Having lost earlier against Theo Beukes, Fleidl, who also hails from Swakopmund, had other plans for the final.

But Fleidl did not have things his way initially as he had to fight back in two of the sets where he had fallen behind.

His determination, stamina and the home-ground aantage factor however ensured that he eventually reigned supreme to see out the match 3-1.

Ramon Hansen and Rudi Saunderson teamed up for the men’s doubles. The pair continued their unbeaten run in 2014 by eliminating the No.1 pair of Fleidl and Schurz in the semi-final before clinching the title with a g win over Reinardt Stanley and Johan Malan.

The combination of Theo Beukes and Wayne Greene claimed the bronze medal.

The next tournament is the SKW Open scheduled to take place on 20 September at the SKW in Windhoek.

Source : The Namibian