Men's Singles winner Jiawang Song (second right) and runner-up David McBeath (second left) with semi-finalists Ismaila Akindiya (left) and Alim Hirji

Crawley titles go for a Song!

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Jiawang Song was the standout player at the Crawley Grand Prix, living up to his top seeding by winning both the Men’s Singles and under-21 Men’s Singles titles.

He defeated Commonwealth Games medallist David McBeath to take the senior crown and Joseph Hee in the Under-21s.

The Women’s Singles also went with seeding as Hannah Hicks overcame Welsh Commonwealth Games player Anna Hursey. Elena Todirca was Player of the Weekend.

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Men’s Singles

Top two seeds Jiawang Song and David McBeath met in the final and it went with seeding as Song took the title with a 3-1 (11-6, 11-7, 14-16, 16-14) scoreline.

Second seed McBeath got past Ismaila Akindiya in four sets in the semi-finals, having not dropped a game before that against young opponents Joseph Goss, Olly Tyndall and, in the quarters, James Smith.

Song had triumphed over Alim Hirji in the last four, a reasonably close three-set margin of 12-10, 11-9, 11-7. His earlier rounds had seen him untroubled by Pedro Santos, Adeoye Adewale and Adam Nutland, losing only 39 points combined across the nine games.

Women’s Singles

Hannah Hicks receives her winner’s cheque from Table Tennis England Competition & Events manager Carol Miles

Top seed Hannah Hicks held off the challenge of Anna Hursey to take the top prize with a 3-2 (9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 11-3) scoreline.

Both finalists came through the semis in three, fourth seed Hursey defeating second seed Emma Vickers 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 to avenge a defeat in the Band 1 event, and Hicks seeing off Raffaela Kurz 9-11-5, 12-10, 11-8).

Veterans

Mike O’Driscoll receives his winner’s cheque from Table Tennis England Competitions & Events Manager Carol Miles

Mike O’Driscoll prevailed from top seeding, though not without surviving a fright in the last 16, where Martin Gunn came back from 2-0 down to force a decider. O’Driscoll eventually won it 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 5-11, 11-3.

Two three-game victories in the quarters and semis set up a final against Paul Carter, which O’Driscoll won 3-1 (11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6). Carter had beaten Richard Jermyn in four in his semi-final.

Under-21 Men

Joseph Hee and Jiawang Song with Carol Miles

Top seed Jiawang Song was an impressive victor as he powered through the rounds without dropping a game, culminating in a 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-4) victory over Joseph Hee in the final.

Hee, the third seed, had overcome second-ranked Ethan Walsh 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-6) in the semi-finals, where Song had beaten James Smith 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 12-10) – his closest match.

Under-21 Women

Under-21 finalists Raquel Sao Pedro (left) and Beth Richards

Beth Richards of Wales won the final 3-0 (2, 6, 1) against Raquel Sao Pedro after both girls had had tighter matches in the earlier rounds.

Richards needed five to overcome Tiana Dennison in the quarters, taking the decider 15-13, while Sao Pedro beat Lydia John in a decider at the same stage. In fact, all four quarter-finals went the distance, Lara Whitton beating Lois Perryman and Sarah Menghistab besting Katie Holt.

In the semis, Sao Pedro got past Menghistab in four, while Richards beat compatriot Whitton in three.

Open Doubles

Winners Alim Hirji and Tibor Kadar

Alim Hirji & Tibor Kadar were victorious, overcoming Will Bayley & Pedro Santos 3-0 (11-7, 12-10, 11-5) in the final.

Both semi-finals were decided in four, the champions beating Adam Nutland & Luke Walsh and Bayley & Santos coming through against Chris Cockburn & Joshua Dye.

Banded events

Men’s Band 1

Winner Adam Nutland (left) and runner-up Alim Hirji with Carol Miles

Adam Nutland prevailed 3-0 (9, 5, 9) against Alim Hirji, who he had also beaten 3-1 (-2, 9, 7, 9) in the group stage, to win the final.

Hirji got through the semi-finals only by withstanding a fightback by Israel Awolaja, eventually taking it 3-2 (11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9). Nutland saw off Ethan Walsh 3-1 (11-8, 8-11, 11-1, 11-7) in his semi.

Women’s Band 1

Elena Todirca who was Player of the Weekend as well as WB1 winner

Elena Todirca’s marathon victory over Emma Vickers was the crucial result in the round-robin group of seven players.

It was 15-13 in the decider in favour of Todirca, with both players having led and trailed earlier in the match. The final score was 3-2 (8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 15-13).

It helped Todirca to an unbeaten record, though she had to fight to get the better of Welsh youngster Anna Hursey, again prevailing in five (9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7).

Vickers needed five to beat Danielle Kelly, but found it easier against Hursey with a 3-0 (7, 7, 7) margin as she clinched the runners-up spot.

Men’s Band 2

James Smith (centre) and Israel Awolaja

James Smith came through two five-game matches in the semi-finals and final to win the Band.

He first fought back from 2-1 down to Hippolyte Levy in the last four to win 3-2 (7-11, 15-13, 10-12, 11-4, 11-9) and then withstood a comeback by Israel Awolaja in the final to take that match 3-2 (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4).

Awolaja had a tight three-set semi-final against Joseph Hee, the Band’s top seed, which he won 11-8, 16-14, 11-9.

Women’s Band 2

Anna Hursey (centre) and Elena Todirca

Top-ranked Anna Hursey duly won the Band – but she had to come from 2-0 down in the final to do so.

Her final opponent was Elena Todirca, who had beaten her in Band 1 and who took the first two games 11-4, 11-9 to stand on the brink of victory. But Hursey shaded the third 13-11 and then wrapped up the next two 11-7, 11-4.

The beaten semi-finalists both lost in four – Raffaela Kurz to Hursey and Tiana Dennison to Todirca.

Men’s Band 3

Richard Carden (right) and Sam Wilson

Richard Carden won a see-saw clash with Sam Wilson 3-2 (5-11, 11-6, 13-11, 4-11, 11-7) to take the Band’s top prize.

It was fitting the final went to five, as the whole knockout stage was well populated with matches which went the distance.

They included Wilson’s semi-final win over Zak Earley (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 13-11) and also his victory in the last 16 over Mark Collins. Indeed, all four of the last-16 matches in the top half of the draw went to five, with Joe Walker’s victory over Zoltan Hosszu going to 15-13 in the decider.

Carden’s semi-final saw him come from 2-0 down to beat Thomas Earley 3-2 (8-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5), while his quarter-final was also done in five as he beat Will Bayley 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5).

Women’s Band 3

Raffaela Kurz (centre) and Raquel Sao Pedro

Raffaela Kurz came from 2-0 down to beat Raquel Sao Pedro in the final, ending up winning at a canter in the decider as the match finished 7-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-1.

Sao Pedro had needed to fight hard to reach the final – her semi was a 3-2 (5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9) win over top seed Tiana Dennison, while the quarters saw her defeat Swetha Katri in five (16-13, 11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9).

Kurz by contrast only needed three against Samadhi Udamulla in the quarters and Lara Whitton in the semis.

Men’s Band 4

Winner Thomas Earley with Carol Miles

Thomas Earley defeated Ugar Saglik 3-1 (11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7) to take the honours.

Saglik’s run to the final included two five-setters in the early rounds, as he overcame Tom Savary (11-13, 13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8) and then Ryszard Pelc (11-7, 11-2, 15-17, 6-11, 11-7). He needed four in the quarters against Joshua Nashed and three in his semi against Alexander Ahl.

Earley came through the bottom half of the draw, beating Tylar Anderson in four in the semi-finals and Luc Miller, also in four, in the quarters.

Women’s Band 4

Winner Scarlett O’Neil

Scarlett O’Neil eventually shook of Julie Lawrence to win the final. Having twice seen her opponent level the match, O’Neil finally took a decisive lead to take the title 3-2 (11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5).

Lawrence also had a five-setter in the semi-finals, overcoming Lydia John 3-2 (8-11, 13-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9), while O’Neil defeated Rita Lopes in three (8, 6, 8).

Men’s Band 5

Jaden Aulakh (left) and Cain Fagan with Carol Miles

Jaden Aulakh was the winner, avenging a band 6 semi-final defeat by Cain Fagan as he won 3-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

Both semi-finals were done in three straight, Aulakh overcoming Owen Brown and Fagan coming through against Darius Xavier.

Men’s Band 6

Jacob Evans (left) and Cain Fagan

Jacob Evans beat Cain Fagan 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5) in the final. Evans had a tough match in the last 16, coming through 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-6) against Dan Hogan, then beat Brandon Bennett and Craig Green in three straight in the subsequent rounds.

The other semi-finalist was Jaden Aulakh, beaten 3-1 (8, 8, -8, 9) by Fagan.

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