Mark Smythe Table Tennis

Australia's no. 1 coach

Heming wins Australian Top 10 Event

Heming has broken through for his first big singles title in Australia as a Senior player. He won the Australian Top 10 in dramatic fashion against Chris Yan, 4-3 (15-13 in the 7th set) after being 3-0 down and two match points in the 4th set.  

To see the results click, 2017 Aust. Men's Top 10 results

To read Heming's detailed report, see below. 

Hi everyone

It was time again for our annual top 10 event (May 6 & 7 at Seagulls TT Club/Tweed Heads). This is one of the big domestic tournaments of the year for Australian players. Additionally, a 2018 Oceania Cup (largest prize money event in Oceania each year plus winner gets to player in World Singles Cup) spot was up for grabs for the winner of this event! I have never played Oceania Cup before, having just missed out couple times. 

We were split into 2 groups of 5 players with the top 2 players from each Group progressing to knockout SF stage. Our group you could say was the 'group of death' with Aussie number 1 Chris Yan, Kane Townsend (no. 3), myself (no. 5), Jake Duffy and Trent Carter in the same group. I've lost to all of them in the past so knew this wasn't going to be easy so I had to bring out my best and fight like crazy! I started off with a bye. My first match against Trent and came out firing, playing aggressively and changing a few tactics since our last recent encounter at Dandenong Open, where I won fairly comfortably 4-0. This time it was a tough 3-1 win. I prevailed in the end after losing the first set easily, with a lot of hard fighting and good play. It was a huge relief and fantastic feeling to get my first match under my belt and away. The first match in tournaments is always tough because you have not yet adapted to the pressure and feeling/conditions of the hall under pressure, just yet.

My second match was against Chris Yan. I lost with 3-1 but had some chances at 1-1 and the 3rd set but didn't take them and was outplayed by Chris in the end. 

My third match was against Jake Duffy. I won this match 3-0. After a close and tense first set, it was smooth sailing for me. I had lost to Jake in this event last year and knew had to work hard for each point and it wouldn't be easy playing a consistent and clever player.

My fourth match with Kane was to decide who was going to finish 2nd therefore progress to Semi Final. After a tense start and being down 9-6 in the first set, I clawed my way back from there, took the important first set and then dominated from there and took the match 3-0, much to my relief and delight. This meant the next day, I was going to play the number 1 finisher in the other group. This being Rohan Dhooria (ACT) who was having the tournament of his life after defeating David Powell, Wade Townsend, Erny Tsao and Benjamin Gould.

I knew what was at stake, the other semi had Wade Townsend and Chris Yan, with Chris winning. Chris is ineligible for selection into the Oceania Cup meaning the winner of Rohan and myself would qualify for a place in the Oceania Cup 2018. Rohan has improved a lot and was on such a high I knew would be a touch battle. After a shaky and close first set, I lost in deuce then in the 2nd set I was down 10-8. I played some good balls to take that set and dominated from there to lead 3-1 in sets and 9-4 in the 5th set. At this point, I told myself not to think about Oceania Cup but it was really difficult. Rohan played some good shots, got a few lucky balls and before I could count to 3, it was 9-9 and the pressure had built up completely. I lost the set 14-12 and found myself down down 7-3 in the 6th. I had to change some tactics as my previous ones were losing me points, I adapted to the moment and was brave to play some extremely good shots from them on and won 8 points in a row to claim the match 4-2 and finally, for the first time ever, qualify myself for an Oceania Cup. I was extremely relieved and unbelievably happy to get through this and achieve the first of my two goals for this tournament. 

I was more relaxed going into the final but just as pumped up to want to win. I learned from my mistakes in the first match in the groups with Chris and tried to utilise it here in the final. The match started with Chris taking control and winning the first 2 sets comfortably. I lost the third set with 3 set points in a close 16-14 and was really disappointed with this. However, I kept fighting till the end no matter what, because I always believe there is a chance and I am sometime who always fights every point no matter what. Chris felt more and more confident and I felt less and less confident. I was down 5-0 and thought, OH NO! Then 10-8 on his serve but I clawed back to win 14-12 that set. I started to feel more and more confident and Chris started to get more and more nervous and I won the 5th and 6th sets easily. The 7th and deciding set was a nail biter from start to finish and we both brought out the best in each other's level and games. I had 4 match points during deuce but couln't win any of them, with one of them Chris playing an incredible backhand shot past me from back of the court during a long rally. Eventually, on my 5th match point, I took the match 16-14 and am extremely happy with it all! 

Moving on, the World Championships are next for me. I will learn from this tournament/Aust Top 10, and prepare my best for the World Championships to hopefully play my best.