'Jimmy-Jammy' propels Felker to victory over Merrill
Atlanta, Georgia – Robert Felker defeated Curt Merrill in an intense match Thursday afternoon, winning by a total of four points to advance to the second round of the inaugural Blazing Paddles tournament.
The match left many of the onlookers feeling a bit nervous themselves. At one point, the umpire lost track of the score and had to switch off a television nearby to better focus on the proceedings.
The two competitors, matched in talent and wearing the same shoes, traded rallies and jabbed with difficult shots.
Felker jumped to an early lead during the first game with the help of the "Jimmy-Jammy," a wicked serve that flies low to the table and then bounces with a crooked spin.
Merrill may have been suffering from a case of the nerves, or he may have just needed a bit of time to get used to Felker’s serve.
Whatever the case, he soon found his bearings and mounted a furious comeback to square the game at 11 points all.
Felker held on to win the game 15 to 13.
The second game of the match was close from the outset and it was exciting to watch, or at least, more exciting than the first.
Both Felker and Merrill stand about two feet from the table, a distance that produces shots that carry a bit of velocity and length. And those shots, at times, land on the table’s edges, requiring quick reflexes that elicit “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience.
The second game was tied at 13 points all and some observers wondered if a third and decisive game was in the offing.
But Felker, in an anticlimactic manner, won two consecutive points on serve to take the match.
Felker will face Karyn Lu in the second round, scheduled for next week. Merrill will attempt to overcome his disappointment by trying to win the consolation bracket.
In an earlier result, Jenny Jenkins defeated Kate Taylor in their first round pairing. She will face Ken Uzquiano next week.
Earlier this week, David Muhlhausen defeated Lila King. He will face M++ next week.
In the last match of the first round, Matthew Suber will take on Thad Goad. The winner of that match will face Kyle Almond next week. That match is scheduled for Monday.
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