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No. 1 Huang Beats Malek to Defend His Championship

Table tennis: Coach, the highest-rated senior player in U.S., is first to win consecutive titles since 1990 and 1991.

June 09, 1997|MELANIE NEFF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

LAGUNA HILLS — The finals of the Meiklejohn National Seniors Table Tennis tournament over-40 division offered the same two players as last year.

The outcome was the same as well.

Second-seeded Atilla Malek of Costa Mesa quickly lost to top-seeded Tong Sheng Huang, 21-16, 21-5, 22-20, Sunday at Leisure World.

Maryland's Huang, 41, picked up a check for $1,200. Last year Huang won, 21-14, 21-18, 26-24.

Malek, 44, a former member of the Hungarian national team, tried throughout the match to keep the ball from Huang's blistering forehand, but couldn't as numerous unforced errors kept Huang ahead.

Malek, who moved to the United States in 1978, took his first lead of the match in the final game, at 6-4. The players battled to a tie, 20-20, with Huang winning on a long shot by Malek. Malek collected $600 for finishing second.

Huang, the highest-rated senior player in the United States, was a member of the Chinese national team and won the U.S. national title in 1992. He now coaches at the USA Table Tennis Center and is the first player to win consecutive Meiklejohn titles since Rey Domingo in 1990 and '91.

Domingo, a former Philippine national champion and three-time winner in the open division of the Meiklejohn tournament, competed in the under 2400 (player rating) division. Seeded second, he advanced to the final to face New York's George Braithwaite, who advanced to the finals when top-seeded David Sakai defaulted.

Braithwaite, a member of the USATTA Hall of Fame and an eight-time senior national champion, was no match for Domingo, who won the best-of-three match, 21-13, 24-22.

Domingo also captured the over-50 title with a 21-19, 21-17 victory over Sakai.

In the women's open over-40 division, New York's Shu Yun Wang defeated Bella Livshits of Los Angeles. Wang came back after losing the first game to defeat Livshits, 18-21, 21-15, 21-12.

Earlier, Livshits rallied after losing the first game to beat New York's Xiao Ying Liu, 20-22, 21-15, 21-3, in the women's under-1900 division.

Wyoming's Bruce Maclaine took the men's under-1900 title with a 21-14, 16-21, 21-17 victory over Hawaii's Gordon Buck.

The tournament, which was founded by William Meiklejohn eight years ago, has grown to become one of the most prestigious senior table tennis events in the nation, earning a four-star rating from the USATTA.

Drawing the top seniors from around the country, more than 185 participants competed for $12,000 in prize money in the three-day event.

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