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(Pan American event) Valencia, VEN, April 19 - 25
by US Junior Team Coach, Lily Yip
into the future was the theme in
In the ITTF Junior Open Michael was placed in Group 7 of the 10 groups. Two players advanced from each group to the Main Draw, the rest were placed into the Consolation Event. As his coach, I believed Michael was capable of emerging with a 3-0 record. He was in excellent physical condition and moving well, able to outplay some of the Pan American field but not the high level players who were formidable opponents.
Michael defeated Jeremy Lau (CAN) 3-1: (11-4,11-7, 9-11, 11-7);
lost to Marcos Rosas (VEN) 1-3: (11-7, 12-14, 5-11, 10-12)
defeated Orell Cooper (TRI) 3-0: (11-9, 11-6, 11-1) .
So Michael advanced to the Main Draw with a 2-1 record.
Round of 32: Michael faced Mathieu Theriault of
Michael won 4-0: (11-6,11-6, 11-5, 11-6) . His short play was superior (interspersed with his improving drop shot), and he was able to attack first to seize the advantage.
Round of 16: Michael lost to
Danilo Toma (BRA) 1-4: (6-11, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 2-11) Danilo Toma
,#89 in the world in U18, has an excellent arsenal of serves which
gave Michael trouble. His touch was off, and he resorted to pushing too
much. Against a player of Toma's caliber, pushing is suicidal , and Toma
capitalized on the opportunity firing off his tellingly
effective loops first. At times it seemed that Michael
just couldn't read the serves and missed a lot of returns. He did put
together a good fourth game, but perhaps at the same time Toma was taking
a breather before closing him out in the final game. So no chance, Michael
lost, but certainly providing helpful feedback for his future
training. Danilo Toma won the whole tournament beating number one
seed Pierre-Luc Theriault from
April 23 to 24 YOG Qualificational tournament:
Michael Landers was placed in Group 2 where
he defeated Alberto Romo (MEX) 3-0: (11-6, 11- 9, 11-8);
defeated Hugo Rivas (VEN) 3-0: (12-10,11-5, 11-5);
and defeated Orell Cooper (TRI) 3-0: (11-7, 11-4, 12-10).
Michael advanced to the Main Draw with a 3-0 record. He had
taken care of business in a no nonsense manner,
beating his opponents handily in straight sets. He appeared to be in good shape for the
semi-finals where he again faced Mathieu Theriault of
Finals: Michaelís opponent was Florian Wagner from
Michael was very smart in seeking out a lot of recommendations and valuable information. We had been observing and analyzing Florian's performance and we both had confidence that Michael could win this match.
first three and 1/2 games Michael showed his confidence and played very
aggressively which gave Florian a lot of pressure. Their match was very
exciting and had many professional level points including many counter
loop exchanges. Michael almost had this match. He was up 4:1 and 6:3 in
the fourth game. All of a sudden, the game turned, as Florian gained
confidence and Michael inevitably lost some, causing Michael to retreat
and begin lobbing and playing defensively. Florian then took the last two
Michael Landers is a terrific competitor and the best is yet to come. It was my pleasure to coach him.