by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, top spot in the group was not gained without moments of trepidation.
After beating colleagues, Alexa Apud and Panambi Caceres, representing Paraguay ‘B’, by three matches to nil and recording a three-one win in opposition to the Argentina ‘A’ Team partnership of Camila Kaizoji and Candela Perez; the next fixture was more exacting.
Leyla Gomez and Cielo Mutti needed the full five matches to overcome the Chile ‘A’ Team pairing of Natalie Ramos and Natasha Rios.
Mainstay of the victory was Leyla Gomez who ended the day unbeaten; the heroine was Cielo Mutti. In the second match of the fixture, Leyla Gomez beat Natasha Rios (4-11, 11-9, 11-4, 4-11, 11-3), before in the fourth match of the engagement defeating Natalie Ramos (11-2, 11-7, 11-8).
Success against Natalie Ramos levelled matters, after Cielo Mutto had lost to Natalie Ramos in the opening match of the fixture (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7) and the doubles had gone the way of the Chileans (11-7, 11-4, 12-10).
Pressure mounting, Cielo Mutti rose to the challenge; she recovered from a two games to one deficit against Natasha Rios (6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4) to secure victory and top spot in the group.
Alas for Chile, it meant third position in the group; in their opening fixture, Natalie Ramos and Natasha Rios had suffered a three-nil defeat at the hands of Camila Kaizoji and Candela Perez.
Second place in the group for Camila Kaizoji and Candela Perez; thus a passport to the semi-finals, it was the same in the corresponding group for colleagues Aldana Gonzalez and Muriel Rajmil on duty for Argentina ‘B’.
They finished in runners up spot behind the top seeded combination of Brazil’s Livia Lima and Canada’s Isabelle Xiong, a pairing in impressive form; three-nil wins were the order of the day in each fixture.
Initial stage fixtures completed in the Junior Girls’ Team event; similarly, with three groups in action, the first phase of the Cadet Girls’ Team competition came to a conclusion.
First places were secured by Argentina ‘A’ (Divina Ding, Isabela Fragapane), Chile ‘B’ (Jerusalem Flores, Claudia Infante) and Brazil (Beatrix Kimoto, Giulia Takahashi).
Meanwhile, second positions and thus progress to the main draw were reserved by Paraguay ‘A’ (Karimi Apud, Isabella Carillo), Argentina ‘B’ (Valentina Parola, Cielo Rotrying Alvarez) and Chile ‘A’ (Macarena Montecino, Valentina Rios).
Play in both the Junior Girls’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team events conclude on Friday 24th March.