by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was the first time at either an ITTF Challenge Series tournament or on the ITTF World Tour event that a player from Latin America had reached a Women’s Singles final.
“I’m very happy to have won and to be the first; it’s the first international tournament for me since the Olympic Games, I’ve spent the last seven months in Brazil, so I was really ready to play here in Chile.” Caroline Kumahara
Eventually, Caroline Kumahara proved the more consistent player but throughout the contest the clever, deft changes of services exercised by Paula Medina caused the champion elect concern.
After losing the opening two games, Paula Medina won the third; in the fourth she had her chances, whilst in the fifth it appeared she was on the brink of performing a quite remarkable recovery.
She trailed 4-7; facing imminent defeat she called “Time Out”. It appeared the break had proved fruitful. She levelled at 8-all then won the next three points; two game points. Both were saved by Caroline Kumahara, who to her great credit remained calm and did nothing extravagant. She levelled at 10-all, saved game point at 10-11 before winning the next three to secure the title.
“At the beginning of the match I was able to receive her service well but then as the match progressed she kept changing the service and I made mistakes. Overall I felt good during the match but in the fifth game I didn’t move that well; when I was down 8-10 I just tried to be more positive, whilst at the same time making sure I put the ball on the table.” Caroline Kumahara
Throughout Caroline Kumahara controlled her emotions, she emerged successful, a watershed in her career; a milestone for Brazil, South America and Latin America.