Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Brazil International Challenge

The Brazil International was held at the Clube de Paulistano, a beautiful multi-sport club in Sao Paulo. This was the first time I've played in Sao Paulo and the gym was pretty nice though the shuttles were significantly slower than in Gutatemala the week before. Transfering from faster shuttles (=shorter rallies) to slower ones (=longer rallies) was quite a change. The same group of Canadians went down, but we were also joined by Andrew Lau from Ontario, who came from the Belgium International the week before.

After connecting through Mexico City to get to Sao Paulo, we took a long ride from the airport to our hotel. Our driver got a little lost, as we were detouring inside a hospital for some reason. Eventually we got to our hotel and were able to settle down for a bit. We ended up looking for laundry, in which we did find a super expensive place that a couple people ended up doing, but I guess if you need laundry, you need laundry (it was like $85 USD for a load o____O). We then went for some food, but it's incredibly expensive in Sao Paulo, so we all ended up eating $15 hamburgers with no sides. Fortunately, we were provided with a breakfast buffet which eliminated one of the meals, and I also brought my stove, which helped with a few meals.

Cooking in Sao Paulo!
The tournament started and I entered singles again, though I didn't play very well at all. I went for an attacking strategy which wasn't a game I'm very familiar with and I ended up making more unforced errors costing me the match. The rest of the Canadians did fairly well, with most of them making it out of Qualification rounds. On the 21st, it was Derrick's birthday, so Alex Bruce and I chipped in to get him a cake, but the cakes were too expensive so we bought him a strawberry fruit tart! It was delicious and considerably cheaper than the cakes, so it was a good decision :) Good job Alex!



Food at the Club Paulistano: ~$9 meal o__O
The tournament progressed fairly well for most of us, with Michelle taking down a Japanese player in her first round. Everyone else seemed to be playing okay with no notable upsets for the Canadians, although Joycelyn had to withdraw due to a nagging knee injury. She continued in her Doubles events though. Quarterfinals were Friday night, which proved quite interesting as there were many good matches. Rena Wang [USA] and Agnese Allegrini [ITA] had a marathon WS match, lasting about an hour and a half! Unfortunately, it delayed the WD because they had to wait for Rena to rest, and Grace/Joycelyn went to a third set against the Wang sisters [USA] in their WD Quarterfinal. Joycelyn's knee injury got progressively worse and they had to default midway through the 3rd set, in addition to forfeiting their XD Quarterfinal. Finally, after giving Grace a little bit of rest, we played our XD Quarterfinal against Mexico as the last match of the evening. We won fairly convincingly but it was quite late by the time we left and got back to the hotel. We had to eat as well and went to bed a little later than usual.

The next morning, we started off with the XD Semifinals against Halim/Eva [USA]. We started the match off fairly well and took a close first set against them. The second set went fairly close as well, but we were unable to close off the match and lost in the points of the second. Unfortunately I 'ran out of steam' in the 3rd set, leading to many unforced errors and we ended up losing the 3rd set pretty badly. I wish I had a little better rest, but I guess the situation ran beyond my control and I was not able to react to it in the best way. It was a disappointing loss, as it was our first loss to Halim/Eva, but they are a good team, so it did mean that we needed to prepare adequately to take them on. I guess we didn't... oh well, maybe next time ;) On a brighter note though, Michelle had a rematch with Susan Egelstaff [SCO] from last week's SF and was able to win convincingly in 2 sets! Michelle and Alex also pulled through and won against the Wang sisters as well [USA]. The final match of the afternoon was Adrian/Derrick against Ivanov/Sozonov [RUS], another rematch from last week's final. Though Adrian/Derrick put up a really good fight, they lost in a close 2 set match.

Uh... rope store?
That night, we decided to have som Brazilian BBQ! If you don't know what it is, basically, it's like a buffet style (all-you-can-eat) and you have a little tag that you can flip over: red meaning 'stop', green meaning 'go'. On 'go', people come around with many different cuts and types of meats and they cut you a portion to eat. In addition to the mega-protein and saturated fat fest, there was a salad bar including some sushi and sashimi! There was also a fruit and dessert bar and I seriously think a lot of us ate ourselves stupid. Unfortunately, not all of us were able to go, as Derrick declined because of the high price and Michelle and Alex didn't want to go overboard before their finals the next day, but the rest of us made the trip down, including Phyllis and the Phongasavithas sisters [USA]. We also bumped into many other players from the tournament, as the place we went to was significantly cheaper than the one right next to our hotel. It was quite pricey, as it ended up being about $35 on my credit card, but the other place would be close to $60 per person for the meal. It was quite enjoyable nonetheless and we had a good time :)

For the finals, Michelle was up against another Japanese girl, but Michelle showed some really good form and won in 2 sets convincingly! Congrats to Michelle for her 2nd WS title in a row and be sure to check out her matches on YouTube which I will post links to below! Unfortunately, her and Alex had a little more difficulty against Eva/Paula [USA] and lost in a 2 set WD final. We ended the tournament with a close 3 set MD final between Russia and Poland, with Russia squeezing through at the end. After the finals, we all headed back and got ready to go to the airport, as we were scheduled to leave that night. The West coast people left via Continental Airlines through Houston, while the East coast people left via American Airlines through New York. All in all, it was a pretty decent 2 weeks and I'm sure we'll all meet again at another tournament soon enough ;) Be sure to check out some of our matches, as I've tried my best to film everything in HD (720p)!

Our heroine Michelle Li triumphing again in the Women's Singles!

MS Medalists

WD Medalists, with Eva Lee and Paula Obanana [USA] taking a second consecutive title

MD Medalists, watching someone knock over some tubes of shuttles

Full Results: [TournamentSoftware.com]

YouTube Links:
WS R32: Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Ayumi Mine [JPN] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


WS QF: Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Ozge Bayrak [TUR] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2
Game 3


XD QF: Halim Haryanto Ho/Eva Lee [USA] vs. Derrick Ng/Alex Bruce [CAN]
Game 1
Game 2

XD QF:
Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Andres Lopez/Victoria Montero [MEX]
Game 1
Game 2

XD SF: Halim Haryanto Ho/Eva Lee [USA] vs. Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2
Game 3


WS SF:
 Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Susan Egelstaff [SCO] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


WD SF:
Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Rena Wang/Iris Wang [USA] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


MD SF:
 Vladmir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov [RUS] vs. Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng [CAN] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


XD F:
 Halim Haryanto Ho/Eva Lee [USA] vs. Glen Warfe/Leanne Choo [AUS] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


WS F:
Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Kana Ito [JPN] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2


WD F:
Eva Lee/Paula Obanana [USA] vs. Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN] (HD 720)
Game 1
Game 2
Phew... I think that's it... thanks for visiting! Hope you enjoyed my blog :)

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