2015 US Open, Las Vegas, Nevada
This year’s US Open was back in the familiar venue of Las Vegas. But with the largest turnout in recent years, a new pair of partner hotels, and a reimagined Finals showcased in the Omnia Nightclub, much of the tournament was a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar.
The Men’s final featured top seed (and World No. 54), Adrian Crisan of Romania. But, keeping with the theme of “unfamiliar”, emerging from the other bracket for his unexpected Finals appearance was new ICC coach, Wang Jinxin. Wang isn’t a novice in the sport by any means – winning Provincial competitions in China before moving to California and becoming a fixture near the top of tournaments there. But no one expected the No. 72 seed to reach the finals. And once he reached the finals, he took advantage of his opportunity – keeping Adrian Crisan off balance, winning most of the long points, and ultimately pulling out the close games (winning both the fourth and fifth games 12-10) to claim the title 4-2.
The two sides of the Women’s draw were also a mix of familiar and unfamiliar. The second seed, Miyu Maeda pressed through the event comfortably winning her matches (4-2, 4-0, 4-2, and 4-2). However, the other half of the draw did not proceed as expected. Top seed, Elisabeta Samara, was the victim of an upset in her opening match- losing to Wenting Zha 4-1. Zha then lost in the next round to Ying Liu (4-1) which set up a Final of No. 2 seed Maeda against No. 33 seeded Liu. The final was competitive and close, but Maeda controlled the pace and played in the lead throughout (winning 8, -9, 1, -8, 9, 7).
In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition – Men’s Doubles was won by a Japanese team (Kasahara and Morimoto). This year they won 4-1 over the Korean team of Ko and Lee. The Korean team had some issues making contact with the table following service returns resulting in three faults and disrupting their momentum. According to the USATT announcers, some of the issue may have been unfortunate as the tables normally used in the feature courts have 8 legs and are more stable, but because of the combination of the start of the disabled events and the setup for the off-site finals, a less-stable roller table was used for the Doubles final. Wheelchair tables need the full access under the table that the 8 leg table provides, and the Finals event was held offsite and necessitated some setup. The win by the Japanese team was a pretty dominant 4-1 win, so the table movement issue is likely more of a footnote – though the Korean team was clearly upset after the match.
The other doubles events were all-Japanese affairs with Japan over Japan in Women’s Doubles and also in Mixed Doubles. Bohan Zhang of California won the U21 Men’s event. Women’s winner Maeda also won U21 Women’s, defeating Team USA’s Lily Zhang 4-1.
Jim Butler defended his Over 40 singles title. Butler then teamed with Sean O’Neill to win the Over 40 doubles. Hall of Famers Patty Martinez and Judy Hoarfrost defeated Hall of Famers Donna Sakai and Connie Sweeris in the Over 60 Women’s Doubles. And another pair of Hall of Famers, David Sakai and Dell Sweeris, won the Over 65 Men’s Doubles (over Richard McAfee and Homer Brown).
A successful event for over a thousand participants, with entrants from more than 30 countries, and over a hundred events. All of the great performances, excitement, upsets, and drama that we have come to expect from this event. And some unexpected twists including a new pair of hotels, and some glitz at an off-venue finals. The 2015 US Open – the right combination of familiar and unfamiliar.
Watch the Men’s Final and Award Ceremony Here: