The 8th USHA National One-Wall Big-Ball Championships produced new men’s and women’s pro singles champions on a rainy weekend in New York City. Saturday’s action was suspended due to rain and more rain greeted championship hopefuls on Sunday, forcing the tournament to move to the 1-Wall indoor courts at the Elks Club.
The men’s pro singles featured top seed and three-time defending champion Timbo Gonzalez seeking his unprecedented fourth consecutive national 1-Wall singles big ball title. Gonzalez defeated current 1-Wall small ball national champion Tyree Bastidas in Sunday’s quarterfinal and defeated rising star Kadeem Bush just two hours later in the semifinals. Second seeded and multiple-time WPH yellow jersey winner Tywan Cook faced little resistance en route to the final, dismantling Ignazio Iccardi in the quarterfinals and Eric Cruz in the semifinals by a combined score of 50-12. “This is the best singles I’ve ever seen Tywan play,” stated WPH R48 Player’s Championship quarterfinalist and 1-Wall big ball fan Mike Schneider.
Gonzalez entered the final not having lost a 1-Wall big ball singles tournament match in two years and having never lost to Cook. The former doubles team played at a frantic pace throughout the one game to 25-point final, with each superstar demonstrating sensational athleticism and a burning desire to win. “Timbo built a lead in the first half but Tywan never allowed Timbo to get astray,” stated tournament director Alethia Mendez. Tywan served for the match at 24-21 but Timbo earned the side out and applied pressure, scoring consecutive points to cut Cook’s lead to just a point. Cook would not be denied, earning the side out and scoring the final point to earn his first national singles title. “Tywan deserved to win,” stated a gracious Gonzalez. “I played well and he played better. He stepped it up at the end.”
“Self-discipline was the difference between me beating Timbo for the first time and coming up two or three points short,” revealed an ecstatic Cook after the match. “I’ve set my sights on number one and I believe I have all of the tools to reach the top spot. I believe Timbo was stunned in how I was playing. I feel like I was more dominant throughout the match because I know how to beat him. I never gave him any easy shots or made any errors and when it got close I pushed harder. The confidence I gained in my game and myself allowed me to play my game and not into his. This year is going to be a fight for number one.”
Timbo bounced back in the men’s pro doubles, teaming with Allan Sanchez to defeat Gio Vasquez and Oscar Cardenas.
Danielle Daskalakis entered the women’s pro singles as the defending champion and number one seed. The current USHA all-around champion barely survived her semifinal clash with Brenda Pares-Dubose, advancing to the final, 25-23. Sandy Ng entered the women’s pro singles having played her first outdoor singles event in 16 months at the WPH’s Xrossover Revolution in Venice Beach last weekend. Ng was sidelined by a knee injury at the WR48 NYAC ’14 that required surgery. “I feel like I can finally run and move the way I want to move on my knee,” stated Ng after competing in Venice Beach. Ng displayed the enormous talent she demonstrated as a teenager throughout the event, sailing to final by outscoring Jessica Santiago and Karen McConney by a combined score of 50-12. The “Ng Express” did not stop with her quarterfinal and semifinal victories, as she overwhelmed Daskalakis in the final to claim her first pro singles national title, 25-9. “This is the best I’ve seen Sandy play,” stated Schneider. “She really put it all together and dominated the field.”
Ng completed a dream weekend, slamming the doubles with Danielle Daskalakis. Ng and Daskalakis won the match of the tournament, defeating Melissa Sky and Jessica Santiago, 25-24.
Thank you to the USHA for hosting this great event and thank you to Alethia Mendez for running the event and providing a live stream of Sunday’s matches.
David Fink, WPH Senior Writer