Thursday Night Live – T2 Challenge: Rounds Two and Three
The exciting table tennis event, modeled after the popular T2 Diamond League and streamed live around the world, continued through Rounds two and three of play from the Westchester Table Tennis Center. Billed as “Thursday Night Live: T2 Challenge”, this partnership between USA Table Tennis and Asia’s T2 Diamond, features 11 matches taking place over 11 weeks and pitting the best U.S. table tennis players in a fast-paced format.
As previously reported, the first ever Thursday Night Live: T2 Challenge, pit two familiar competitors against each other, Yijun “Tom” Feng and Kai Zhang, who had previously met in a February 29th U.S. Olympic qualifying match.
Above: Amy Wang (red accent shirt) and Adar Alguetti (blue accent shirt) in Round 3 action of the Thursday Night Live - T2 Challenge
Rounds two and three, taking place on the evenings of August 6th and 13th, had several similarities. Each week featured a co-ed match-up with nationally-ranked male and female competitors facing off across the table. Each match also featured one of the Alguetti brothers, with Sharon Alguetti facing two time Olympian (2016 and 2020) Juan Liu in Rround two on August 6th, and older brother Adar Alguetti going up against Amy Wang, ranked as one of the top two junior female players in the world last year by the International Table Tennis Federation. in Round 3. Another interesting and unique element of the Round two and three matches were that Sharon was coached in his Round two win by brother Adar, and Adar was coached in his Round three win by brother Sharon. These two siblings now share what is certainly going to be unique within the Thursday Night Live – T2 Challenge series; they are the only people to hold victories as both a player and a coach.
Above: Left - Amy Wang and Coach Xiaota Wang (her father) ; Right - Adar Alguetti and Coach (brother and Round 2 winner Sharon)
Unlike the battle between Feng and Zhang in Round one which included three, fast-five games, after the 24 minute clock had expired, the seven games of Round two took less than 22 minutes to complete with Sharon taking 4 games straight to win the match.
Week three proved to be a much more competitive event. The match opened with Amy Wang establishing her presence by taking the first two points of game 1 and increasing her advantage to 8-5. Adar rose to the challenge evening the score at 10-10, but eventually falling to Amy 11-10. In the T2 format, there is no requirement to win by two points. Adar came back strong in game two running the score to 7-0 but, with no quit in her, Amy fought back to a 5-8 deficit before dropping game 2 bring the match to an even one game each. Adar took game 3 by a score of 11-5 and Amy took game 4 by a score of 11-9, evening the match at 2 games each. In a close game 5, tied at 7, Amy went on 4 point, unopposed run, winning game 5 and taking a 3-2 lead in the match. With the 24 minute clock expired and the fast-five scoring in play, Adar took control winning games 6 and 7 by scores of 5-1 and 5-0, respectively, and taking the best-of-seven match 4-3. This was exciting, competitive, table tennis in the T2 format.
Other interesting item so far in the T-2 format is that two of the three winners so far, Tom Feng and Adar Alguetti, are members of the New York University Table Tennis Team, and two of the winners so far, the Alguetti brothers, were competing at their home club. “Winning as a coach and a player – it doesn’t get better than that” Adar noted after the match.
With eight weeks to go, the excitement is sure to continue.