CURTIS HUMPHREYS failed to reach the final round of the RMSL (Reliability Maintenance Services Limited) Super Singles Table Tennis Tournament on Sunday, at the National Racquet Centre, in Tacarigua.
After winning his first two matches in the knockout draw in three straight games, the 2017 champion was upset 11-9, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5 by fellow top-ten player Aaron Edwards in their battle for a place in tomorrow night’s final six.
Playing in his first major tournament as the top-ranked player in the country, Arun Roopnarine just avoided the exit door in the first two matches and then crushed Tobagonian Javier King 11-1, 11-6, 11-7 to advance.
The 22-year-old, who was the runner-up in last year’s edition, had clawed his way back from two games to one to deny Declan John 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 in the first round, and then edged Humphreys’ brother Alaric 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7 to move into the last 12.
King also went the distance in his first two matches as he first nosed out OCM multimedia journalist Kwame Laurence 12-10, and then survived an ever closer encounter, saving three match points to take out Michael Fong 13-11, also in the fifth.
Alaric, a former top-five ranked player, had earned a meeting with Roopnarine by trouncing the seventh-ranked Luc O’Young 11-1, 11-3, 10-12, 11-9 in the first round. Edwards had qualified for the final stage for the first time last year, but there will be two teenaged debutants this time.
After sending the sixth-ranked Anson Wellington packing 6-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7, Trinbago Open Under-18 champion Jesse Dookie came from behind again to beat Everton Sorzano 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9. The southpaw won the last six points to qualify, but 16-year-old Derron Douglas avoided a fifth game in even more remarkable fashion to beat fellow Under-18 player N’kosi Rouse in the last 12.
The fifth-ranked Tobagonian, won ten of the last 12 points from 8-2 down in the fourth to prevail 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10.
National champ and overwhelming title favourite Aaron Wilson, advanced with an 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 triumph over Nicholas Lee, who is still two weeks shy of his 15th birthday. And defending champ Shermar Britton of Guyana whipped Andrew Alexander 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 to complete the list of qualifiers.
It has been a nightmare season for Reeza Burke and it ended abruptly when the five-time national champ was stunned 4-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7 by Tobagonian Lawrence Ince in the first round.
The women’s top four — Chelsea Fong, Imani Edwards-Taylor, Chloe Fraser and defending champ Brittany Joseph — had been determined the night before, and they will return with the six male qualifiers to battle for the final major titles of the season in straight round-robin events tomorrow night.