by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
On Sunday 14th May, after overcoming Peru’s Kelly Santur (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3); Bruna Takahashi accounted for a spirited adversary in the guise of Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes, a young lady who had impressed at the semi-final stage when beating Chile’s Valentina Rios in five games (11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7).
Perhaps, Nathaly Paredes felt at home. She is from Santo Domingo; that is Santo Domingo in Ecuador not the Dominican Republic, a city situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountain Range.
After losing the first two games somewhat comfortably, the Ecuadorian gave Bruna Takahashi more than cause for concern in the next two (11-4, 11-4, 16-14, 12-10); it was a delighted but slightly relieved Brazilian who departed the arena.
A positive response from Nathaly Paredes but great credit must go to Bruna Takahashi, who after losing in the final one day earlier had to start all over again in the second knock-out event.
“It’s hard to lose, start again and do the same thing again. You have to be really strong in your head and accept the system; you have to be totally focused. Against Nathaly in the third and fourth games my legs were not moving, I don’t know why; I didn’t play that well but my head was clear and that got me through the match. For sure, really happy I’ve qualified; now the pressure has drained away.” Bruna Takahashi
Success for Bruna Takahashi was followed by success for Guilherme Teodoro; after recording a straight games semi-final win over Mexico’s Guillermo Casio (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6), he recovered from an opening game deficit to beat Panama’s Jacobo Vahnish (8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6), the penultimate round winner against Peru’s Rodrigo Hidalgo (7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7).
“Yesterday in the final against Nicolas Burgos I thought I played well, he played amazing. Jacobo is an improving player, I lost the first game but I was able to keep a clear mind and today I think my backhand was the key; it was strong today.” Guilherme Teodoro.
Bruna Takahashi and Guilherme Teodoro now qualify for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games alongside Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Chile’s Nicolas Burgos, the players against whom one day earlier they had suffered defeat.
Photos: Martin Avila Maria