France-based Dexter St Louis secured two wins to lead T&T past last year’s nemesis Dominican Republic, 3-2, and into the final of the 54th Senior Caribbean Table-Tennis Federation Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last night. In the semifinals, T&T, who won the title in 2009 to end a 29-year drought, started slowly when 14-year-old Arun Roopnarine was beaten by Emil Santos, 7-11, 7-11, 6-11. That was the only taste of triumph for the host though, as St Louis, a four-time Caribbean men’s single champion and runner-up last year outplayed Samuel Galvez 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 to tie the match at 1-1. Top ranked local and national champion Curtis Humphreys then came from behind to defeat Isaac Vila 6-11, 11-3, 11-7, 14-12 for a 2-1 lead before St Louis returned and outlasted Santos 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9 to clinch the tie. In yesterday’s quarterfinal round, St Louis led T&T past seventh seeded St Lucia 3-1 after he spanked Chris Wells 11-3, 11-9, 11-7 in the opener, and then closed out the encounter against Adrian Albert 11-6, 11-3, 11-1.
Humphreys also defeated Albert 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 while Kyle Borneo was upstaged by Omarie Ferdinand 11-8, 11-1, 8-11, 4-11, 10-12 for St Lucia’s lone win. This after T&T topped their three-team round-robin group with victories over tenth ranked Curacao 3-0 and eighth seeded Guadeloupe, 3-1, led by unbeaten performances from St Louis and Humphreys on Wednesday. The fifth ranked Barbadians, who T&T will meet in the final, powered past 11th ranked French Guiana 3-0 in the quarterfinal round before pulling off a 3-2 upset of second ranked Puerto Rico to set up an all-English-speaking final with T&T. For the Barbadians, Mark Dowell was the star with two victories, first over Hector Berrios 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 to level the best-of-five series at 1-1 and then the fifth and deciding match, 12-10, 11-7, 13-11 against Manuel Gomez. Aaron Barfker had the next win for the Bajans, 11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7 over Luis Citron.
Gomez had given Puerto Rico a 1-0 lead when he brushed aside Trevor Farley 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7 while Berrios had the other win, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 versus Farley to level the match at 2-2.
Local women finish fourth
The local women’s quartet of France-based Rheann Chung, national senior women’s champion, 14-year-old Brittany Joseph, Ashley Quashie and Linda Partap-Boodhan missed out on a medal and had to settle for fourth spot in the six-team round-robin series after winning only one of their remaining three ties, 3-0 against Jamaica while falling to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, the silver and gold medal winners by 1-3 and 2-3 margins respectively. T&T ended the first session on Tuesday with a 1-1 record after losing to Guyana, 1-3 and rebounding to brush aside Barbados 3-0 in their second match. In the afternoon session, T&T had a much better start beating Jamaica 3-0, with Boodhan beating Ashli Alexander 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4; Chung crushing Tracey-Ann Dattadeen 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 and Joseph battling past Janique Lee 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 11-5. However, against Dominican Republic Chung was the only player to get a win, 11-5, 11-9, 11-2 over Eva Britto. On the other hand, Johenny Valdez overwhelmed Quashie 11-1, 11-3, 11-7; Lineth Vila stopped Partap-Boodhan 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 and Valdez also battled past Chung 8-11, 5-11, 6-11, 6-11.
And against Puerto Rico, Chung won both her matches against Maria Maldonado 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-2 and Nicole Torres 11-1, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, but once again her team-mates could not come with that all important third victory as they fell in all other matcher. Partap-Boodhan was beaten by Torres 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 6-11 and Maldonado 11-13, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 3-11 while Quashie had no answer for Lizette Maldonado 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 7-11. Dominican Republic took gold with a 5-0 record while Guyana got silver after wins against Barbados (3-0), Puerto Rico (3-1) and Jamaica (3-0). Puerto Rico had to settle for bronze after it blanked Barbados and Jamaica 3-0 for its other wins while Barbados was fifth after beating the winless Jamaicans 3-0.