Estee Ackerman of West Hempstead upset two time Olympian (1992, ‘96) Lily Yip to win the Women’s Hardbat Singles event at the 2018 US Open Table Tennis Championship held on December 16-22 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Ackerman lost game one, 21-12, rallied to win game two, 21-16 and was up 19-17 in the final game over the number one seed. Yip fought back to win the next three points to lead 20-19, but Ackerman won the next point to push the match to deuce. From there Yip would serve, get the point and Ackerman would come back again to tie. Ackerman saved a total of five match points! Finally, Ackerman broke serve and held her first championship point. After a few back and forth rallies, Ackerman was able to force an error and win 26-24 for the gold medal. The match had many of the spectators there on the edge of there seats as the points were fast, furious and spectacular.
Ackerman also competed in the Super Tiered Round Robin event with over 300 players in the only rating event this year, as the format was changed. Seeded number 19, she made her way to the top division one, where she ultimately finished tied for fifth place. These matches took place on Asara B’Tevet, and despite fasting, Ackerman managed to compete by not warming up the morning before the event to conserve energy and even taking a nap before the afternoon session.
Ackerman captured the gold medal in Under 20 girls doubles with her partner Linda Shu from Texas. In the Under 20 girls singles, after winning her group, the next round was to begin Saturday. After speaking with the tournament director, Ackerman who does not compete on Shabbat, asked all the other five players if they could play against her on Friday afternoon. All agreed and she went 2-3 to eventually finish in fourth place.
Ackerman spent Shabbat at the Chabad of Orlando, spoke during the Shabbat kiddush and visited the new orthodox shul, the Orlando Torah Center.
Ackerman is a senior at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls and hopes to become the first orthodox olympian in 2020. To see more about her please visit www.gofundme/join-my-journey-to-the-olympics
By Glenn Ackerman, proud father