Gracious champion closes Caribbean TT Championships
Emil Santos and Yasiris Ortiz of the Dominican Republic played the final shot of their country’s dominant performance at the 60th Caribbean Table Tennis Championships which ended on Saturday at the National Arena.
World ranked at 179, Santos beat teammates in the semi-final and final to win a title he has been chasing for seven years. Ortiz upset her top-rated compatriot Eva Brito to get the women’s singles crown.
After fighting past Isaac Vila 11-4, 14-16, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the semis, Santos used his skilful serves and all-around attacking play to seize the title from last year’s winner Samuel Galvez 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7.
“I feel really happy for winning finally the title, been waiting 7 years for it”, he said afterwards with quiet satisfaction.
“I think I played very good today although I have a sad feeling that I had to beat my teammates because we are like really, really good friends”, he graciously extended. “If I could share the first place with them I would do it because it’s a little bit sad.”
Asked what was the key to his win in the final, he said: “My serve and my receptions were quite good. I know my teammate very well so I knew what I had to do to win the match.”
Santos believes his former Texas Wesleyan University coaches, retired Yugoslavia star Jasna Rather and Jamaica’s 1990 National champion Keith Evans will be delighted at his success.
“I think Keith knows that I’ve been trying to win hard to win this tournament so I hope he feel happy and Jasna also”, he reflected.
Santos attended Texas Wesleyan up until 2017.
Ortiz and Brito survived Guyanese challengers in the semi-finals. Ortiz was pushed to the limit by Trenace Lowe, but won 11-4, 12-14, 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 5-11, 13-11 while Brito, world ranked at 193, stopped under 21 winner Chelsea Edghill, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6, 11-2. Then world number 236 Ortiz beat Brito, the top seed 11-8, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 in the final.
The Dominican Republic double on Saturday added to titles already won in the men’s and women’s team event, and the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. In a contest that started on September 23, Guyana were the strongest rivals, and faced the Dominican Republic in both team finals and produced both under 21 champions, Edghill and left-handed Shemar Britton.