by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, Gustavo Tsuboi is the leading name on duty in the Men’s Singles event and on the international stage, the most successful.
Some six weeks older the Argentina’s Gaston Alto, the next name in order of seniority, Gustavo Tsuboi is one of only two players on duty in San José who has competed in a Men’s World Cup.
The other is Kanak Jha of the United States, very much at the other end of the age scale. Now 17 years old, he competed in Düsseldorf in 2014, he qualified for the event by quite sensationally winning the Men’s Singles title at the North America Cup in Burnaby one week after celebrating his 14th birthday.
A belated birthday present for Kanak Jha; notably when Gustavo Tsuboi won the Men’s Singles title at the 2015 Latin America Cup in Havana, Cuba, he won on his 30th birthday, Sunday 31st May.
Success in Havana meant that Gustavo Tsuboi gained a place in the Liebherr Men’s Cup staged later in the year in Halmstad, Sweden. It was in that city, the home for the 2018 World Team Championships, that one of the best ever performances by a player from the American continent was witnessed.
After securing first place in his group on points ratio ahead of Egypt’s Omar Assar and Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, he beat Hong Kong’s Tang Peng, to reserve a quarter-final place where Japan’s Jun Mizutani ended adventures.
It was a most successful visit to the Nordic country, as it had been four years earlier on his one previous appearance in the Men’s World Cup. In 2011 in Paris, he won the Intercontinental Cup finishing ahead of Australia’s William Henzel, Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh and Canada’s Pradeeban Peter-Paul.
The win meant he progressed to the main event where third place in the group was to be his lot; he beat Russia’s Alexey Smirnov but experienced defeats at the hands of Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and China’s Zhang Jike, the eventual winner.
Two Men’s World Cup appearances, both highly successful, does one more await for Gustavo Tsuboi? If experience counts, the expectations are high.