Maryland Table Tennis Center Pulls off Sweeps at the U.S. Open
Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 1-5 - Players from the Maryland Table Tennis Center in Gaithersburg pulled off a rare "Triple Sweep" at the U.S. Open Table Tennis Championships, sweeping events ranging from 13 and Under to Over 65.
Charlene Xiaoying Liu, 62, of Clarksburg, MD, pulled off a triple sweep of her own, winning Women Singles Over 40, Over 50, and Over 60, as well as making the final of Over 30 Women and winning Over 60 Women's Doubles with partner Barbara Kaminsky of Herndon, VA. It is unlikely anyone before has ever swept these three singles age events at the Open. She defeated Bella Livshin of California in both the Over 60 and Over 50 finals - both time in close 3-2 finals - and Li Tzu-Ying of California 3-0 in the over 40 final before losing to Li, 1-3 in the Over 30 final. Charlene, who has dominated senior events in the U.S. for many years, has won 28 National titles in senior events at the U.S. Open and U.S. Nationals. In May she won a bronze medal for Over 60 Women's Singles at the World Senior Games in Auckland, New Zealand.
The husband and wife team of Dave & Donna Sakai, both 67 (she's one week older), of Bowie, MD, swept Over 65 Men's and Women's Singles and four other doubles events. In the Men's final, Dave defeated Lim Ming Chui of New Jersey in a grueling 3-1 battle. In the Women's Final, Donna defeated her sister Barbara Kaminsky of Herndon, VA, 3-0. Dave & Donna also won Over 60 Mixed Doubles, defeating another husband and wife team in the final, 3-2 over fellow USATT Hall of Famers Dell & Connie Sweeris of Michigan. Dave added three more doubles titles, winning Over 50 and Over 60 Doubles with partner Dan Seemiller of Indiana, and Over 65 Men's Doubles with Dell Sweeris of Michigan. Donna also made the final of Over 6o Women's Doubles with Connie Sweeris. This was the fourth time Dave & Donna had swept the same two age events at the U.S. Open or Nationals. The number of titles the two have won over the years can only be described as "too many to count." Dave was a member of the 1979 U.S. Pan Am Team. Donna made the final of Women's Singles at the 1964 U.S. Open while winning Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Junior Mixed Doubles. Said Donna of the U.S. Open, "50 years ago I won the Junior Mixed Doubles with Mark Radom and today I won the Senior Mixed with David!"
Crystal Wang, 12, of Boyds, MD, and Derek Nie, 13, of North Potomac, MD, swept Cadet Girls' Singles (15 & Under) and 13 & Under Boys' Singles. Crystal defeated Amy Wang of New Jersey in the 3-1 in the Cadet Girls' final. Crystal also made the semifinals of 18 & Under Girls and the quarterfinals of Under 21 Women's Singles. Derek won 13 and Under Boys' Singles, defeating Victor Liu of California 3-1 in the final. Derek had won 11 and Under Boys' Singles at the U.S. Open two years before, also in Grand Rapids. (Crystal, who is the youngest member in U.S. history to make the U.S. Women's National Team - top four in the country - did not compete in 13 and Under Girls' Singles as she was already entered in eight other events.)
Other locals doing well included: