December 13, 2019
Mishel Levinski Wins Americas Ping Pong Qualifier and Books A Spot For 2020 Worlds
(Courtesy of SATTC)
Saturday December 13th San Antonio Table Tennis Club hosted the Americas Qualification event for the 2020 World Championship of Ping Pong. The tournament was played with the famous sandpaper rackets, everybody using the same type of racket provided by the organizers. 30 players lined up at the beginning of the tournament and were distributed in 5 groups, USATT rating was used as seeding criteria. In the group stage the matches were played best of 3 games, first to 15, with sudden death rule which means there were no deuces. A lot of upsets in the group stage proved the participants that the level in table tennis doesn’t always translate in Sandpaper Ping Pong. Three players advanced from each group which meant that the Top Seed Mishel Levinski received a bye for the Round of 16.
The first semifinal match was between Mishel Levinski (2550) of Nison TTC and Bradley Robbins (2062) from Boston Table Tennis, Brad being up 14-12 in the decider but finnaly the match ended 15-14 Mishel being the winner. In the second Semi-Final Sina Asadallahi (2327) from Austin Table Tennis Club took on Nicolas Alvarez Mondragon whose home club is San Antonio TTC. The match ended in straight sets with Asadallahi booking his spot in the final match.
The Final was played best of 5 games, only the winner of this match would have the chance to represent the United States at the $100.000 BetVictor World Championship of Ping Pong broadcasted live on Sky Sports TV. Sina Asadallahi stared the match very well and he looked in control playing very consistently. At 2-1 and 3-0 down Mishel Levinski asked a time-out which turned out to be decisive in the economy of the game. Levinski won 15-9 in the 5th and was crowned the winner of the Qualification Event.
Mishel Levinki answered to some questions regarding the tournament:
1. Mishel, what do you think about your experience Americas Qualification Tournament?
M.L.:The atmosphere in San Antonio table tennis club is incredible, I am no stranger to the club and most of the people. As I have played in few of their Open tournaments. The atmosphere as always is great and very competitive.
The scoring system of ping pong is new to me, best of 3 first to 15, no deuces.
It’s new and different, I do remember playing until 21 but this is new. At my first match I turned when I got to 11.
As far as double points, it seems as if there is a whole strategy of when to use, why and how. I did not yet to understand how to use it in the right moment therefore had to work hard for every and each of my points.
But it ones give a feel of pressure when the other guy uses it, there is a big part of psychology playing.
2. What ability of a table tennis player makes a good ping pong player?
M.L.: The main ability I think is foot-work. This game is HARD !!! I did not expect it to be as difficult as it is, each and every point gives you hard work and a lot of rallies, you barey can win the point directly from the serve or the third ball attack. You have to develop each point in order to come to a comfortable position of over powering. So footwork for me was the biggest advantage as a table tennis player.
3. You were down 3 match points in the semifinal and again down 2 games to 1 in the final. Do you think your table tennis experience helped you prevail in the end?
M.L. 3. In my semi final I have faced Brad Robbins who is a player who practices a lot of sandpaper and knows the game much better than I do. I was 12-14 down in the deciding game against him. With him serving at that point I remembered my table tennis psychology and tactic game, not to be right and afraid, play even more relaxed and do your shots. It helped me a lot as I won the next two long rallies with a forehand winner. At 14-14 I was able to use my table tennis knowledge and use placement as a winner , serving to the backhand (usual weakness at most players) and then pressuring to the same place.
In the final I had a very similar situation where I was outplayed by a very experienced sandpaper player Sina Asadallahi however at 1-2 down I realized I have to play similar tactic to my table tennis game, and was able again to over come and win 3-2.
4. Thank you Mishel and Congratulations for your performance!
M.L. I do want to thank Vlad Farcas, San Antonio table tennis club for having me as well as Nison Aronov and Michael Patin who have helped me and pushed me to go and try my chances at the Americas Ping Pong Qualification Tournament