Decade old rivalry continues at Yukon Table Tennis Championships

For a 10th year in a row Ryan Bachli and Kevin Murphy met in the men’s singles final at the Yukon Table Tennis Championships.

For a 10th year in a row Ryan Bachli and Kevin Murphy met in the men’s singles final at the Yukon Table Tennis Championships.

This time it was brief, ending in straight sets for the first time.

Bachli defeated Murphy 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 to claim his fifth men’s singles title on May 6 at Elijah Smith Elementary School. Both players are from Whitehorse.

“I think he’s just getting old,” said Bachli, teasing his long-time coach and friend, who had a hip replacement a year and a half ago. “I think he needs his other hip replaced.”

Bachli, 25, defeated Murphy, 59, in four sets in last year’s final. The previous year Murphy claimed his 20th singles title with a five-set win over Bachli in the final.

“There’s never been a straight-set win before, so that’s a first,” said Murphy. “He was playing well, I thought I was playing good. I can hang a lot of the missed points on I didn’t make one block off his loops, his heavy topspins. If he missed the table I got a point … but I couldn’t get block number one on him. I think that was one of the major things, from my perspective, that didn’t happen for me.”

Bachli reached this year’s final with a straight-set win over Daniel Li in the semifinal. Li went on to take third with a four-set win over Ethan Gaw of Dawson City.

“I’ve been pretty lucky lately — I haven’t lost many games lately,” said Bachli.

Bachli also took the men’s doubles title with partner Alex Zhang, defeating Murphy and Li in the final.

Whitehorse’s Christina Nie has changed the type of grip she holds the paddle with and it’s getting results. The 43-year-old captured her fourth Yukon women’s singles title with an 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8 win over 2012 champ Xiu Mei Zhang in the final.

“I feel great,” said Nie. “This year I changed from the panhandle to shake-hands — the way I hold the paddle — and I feel it works well. It works for me.”

Nie, who last won the title in 2015, knocked out the defending champ, Dawson City’s Emily Gaw, in the semifinal.

“She’s a very good player, very quick,” said Nie.

The 14-year-old Gaw went on to take third with a win over Ashley Harris. She also teamed up with fellow Dawsonite Kate Crocker to win the women’s doubles title.

Gaw defended her junior girls title with three straight round robin wins. Dawson’s Sarah Nyland and Crocker placed second and third, respectively.

Sam Crocker, another player down from Dawson City, won the junior boys title with three round robin wins. Ethan Gaw took second, ahead of Gerard Parsons.

This year’s championship opened with a mixed doubles competition on May 5 that strangely only Dawson players competed in. Kate Crocker and Parsons took the win with Nyland and Sam Crocker finishing second.

“Dawson has quite a good group of kids playing, which bodes well for us,” said Murphy, head coach of Table Tennis Yukon.

Jesse Caley went undefeated in four round robin matches to take the rookie singles title. Rogan Parry placed second and Kaleb Parry third.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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