Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Canadian International Challenge

The 2011 Canadian International Challenge was held in Moncton, New Brunswick, on the eastern side of Canada. It took pretty much a day to travel, as there is also a +4 hour time difference between Vancouver and Moncton. I flew by myself from Vancouver, connected in Toronto, and arrived in Moncton by 11pm. For a little background as to why the tournament was held here, the Canadian International used to be held in Montreal at around the end of April, making it a very important tournament especially in the Olympic Qualifying year. However, there was to be no more tournament in Montreal so I guess they decided to try to host it in Moncton, as they traditional host a Canadian National circuit tournament at about this time for the past few years. They always had good prize money ($10 000 CAD prize purse) for just a local tournament and I suppose they took a stab at making it International, as the purse is only $5000 USD more (more or less). However, the tournament organizers here take things very seriously and they have been learning from previous mistakes. I was told that there were complaints about breakfast last year, so this year, they made an awesome breakfast buffet at the hotel. Going down for breakfast early was NOT a problem at all ;)

The tournament started on Tuesday, actually, as there were only two qualifying matches, and since there were a few withdrawals, they just played them before the Main Round matches on Tuesday. There isn't too much to do around Moncton, but the weather was actually a LOT better than I expected and we were fortunate to have warmer weather, especially for the Pan American countries who came up that don't see snow or even single digit temperatures. There were many restaurants around the hotel, as we stayed at a Delta in downtown Moncton. The hotel was good for the price, as we had transportation to the airport, to the venue, breakfast, and it was close to many ammenities. Food was a little bit pricey, but we were in the downtown area... still, there was always Subway!

Double Margarita to help with... jetlag? :P
Featuring Michelle Li and Alex Pang
Featuring Derrick Ng/Adrian Liu and Nyl Yakura
The draws for this tournament were very small, with all Doubles events with only R16 draws. Since I had a seeding in XD, I didn't even play until Thursday! However, I was able to go hit twice a day and stay in tournament form, though I was really starting to feel tired as it was my 5th consecutive tournament. Fortunately though, my draw was made a lot easier as Christin Tsai, quarterfinalist from Canada in WS at the 2011 World Junior Championships, had an unfortunate accident and rolled her ankle in her Singles, even though she was winning quite significantly. She had to pull out of all her events (all 3) including the XD, as I would have most likely played against her. In the end, my SF opponents were a local Canadian pair and that match was actual their first XD match of the tournament! As there are only two seeds in the Doubles draws because you need a minimum of 16 teams to have 4 seeds, there were some tough draws, especially in WD. Eva Lee/Paula Obanana [USA] faced Grace Gao/Joycelyn Ko [CAN] in the first round unfortunately, with the Americans winning in straight sets. Since there were a couple of walkovers, both Charmaine Reid/Nicole Grether [CAN] and Paula/Eva had a walkover in the QFs before playing each other in the semifinals! However, with a Canadian crowd backing Reid/Grether, they made it through to the finals, after losing to Lee/Obanana twice in September.

Another unfortunate incident happened, as Adrian and Joycelyn collided in their XD with Joycelyn stepping on Adrian's foot and also rolling her ankle. Since they were up quite far in the match, they finished the last few points to take the match against Israel. However, that was the end of the tournament for Joycelyn, as she had difficulty walking until the Physiotherapist helped to un-jam her ankle with some manipulations. So on the other side of the XD draw, Derrick and Alex pretty much strolled into the finals, as they played a QF match, had a walkover in the SFs, then played the Finals :P Men's Doubles was a slightly different affair, with teams duking it out on the bottom draw, while Adrian and Derrick cruised through on the top half. 

Adrian carrying Joyce back from the restaurant

The finals day went pretty straight forward until the end, where Michelle/Alex had a close 3 gamer against Charmaine/Nicole which lasted a little less than an hour! I saw parts of the match, but I spent a lot of time looking for things to eat. Also, over the weekend, they host a Jr. National circuit tournament on the other side of the gym, so it was a bonus for the Juniors if they wanted to come watch the International tournament. Their tournament ends on Sunday though, so it worked out fairly well as the match times for both tournaments were staggered well enough that you could watch both tournaments.

That's pretty much everything... I would like to thank the tournament organizers and sponsors for running a smooth tournament (on two courts only!) and also to the shuttle drivers who drove us back and forth many many times. Didn't get a chance to have lobster, as seafood is supposed to be very good in Moncton, but I did have some mussels with my pasta :) Thanks for visiting! Enjoy the videos of the finals!

Full Results via Tournament Software: [CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE]

Matches via YouTube:
XD F: Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN] vs. Derrick NG/Alex BRUCE [CAN]
Full Match

Michelle LI [CAN] vs. Lianne TAN [BEL]
Full Match

Full Match

 Adrian LIU/Derrick NG [CAN] vs. Hugo ARTHUSO/Daniel PAIOLA [BRA]
Full Match

WD F: Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN] vs. Charmaine REID/Nicole GRETHER [CAN]
Full Match

Thanks for visiting! :)

1 comment:

  1. Well written, Toby with lots of great info! Rest up for the next round!