by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
First on the agenda was the Cadet Girls’ Singles event where her colleague, Melissa Mendoza provided stiff opposition; five games were needed to secure victory (11-7, 8-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-5).
A testing start for the14 year old who occupied the no.4 seeded position; life became somewhat less dramatic as she completed her first phase matches.
She beat Ecuador’s Mylena Plaza in four games (9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6), before overcoming Camila Villalta, also from El Salvador, in three straight games (11-3, 11-4, 11, 11-4).
Defeat at hands of Mylena Plaza
Victory over Mylena Plaza in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event but later in the day, in the Junior Girls’ Singles event where she was the no.7 seed, it was to be defeat at the hands of the Ecuadorian.
After overcoming compatriot Cecilia Orantes in her opening contest in three straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-2), she was beaten in five games by Mylena Plaza (1-11, 11-9, 19-21, 11-8, 11-5).
Second place in the group loomed for Gabriela Suarez but was not to be the outcome. In the concluding match in the group, Cecilia Orantes beat Mylena Plaza in four games (11-5, 13-15, 11-6, 11-6).
Thus games ratio determined the outcome; it was first place in the group for Gabriela Suarez (5:3), followed by Mylena Plaza (4:5) and Cecilia Orantes (3:4).
Players finishing in first and second places in each group advanced to the main draw; alas for Cecilia Orantes it was the end of the road.
Top place in the group for Gabriela Suarez in both the Junior Girls’ Singles and Cadet Girls’ Singles events as seeding predicted, it was the same in the other groups.
In the Junior Girls’ Singles event, it was first place Peru’s Janina Nieto, Guatemala’s Lucia Cordero and Puerto Rico’s Nicole Malave, as it was for Ecuador’s Eunice Galvez in addition to the El Salvador duo of Emme Arias and Keren Constanza.
Top place for Keren Constanza but there were nervous moments; she needed the full five games to beat Ecuador’s Emely Quinllin, only emerging successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10).
The consolation for Emely Quinllin was that it was her only defeat; thus progress to the main draw was realised.
Nevertheless, it was first place for the young lady from El Salvador who also topped her group in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event, a feat also achieved by Lucia Cordero and Nicole Malave.
Notable first places for El Salvador; it was the same in the Hopes Girls’ Singles competition, Sara Romero and Cristina Machado duly secured first places in their respective groups.
Play in San Salvador concludes on Sunday 28th August.