by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, one wondered as the sixth game progressed, would Kanak Jha perform a remarkable recovery; would Gustavo Gomez spurn the opportunity?
He led 10-6 before losing the next three points prior to securing victory to both the delight and relief of his supporters.
“I wanted to finish so fast but I knew that I must try to be the first to attack; Kanak didn’t serve with much backspin, so I kept looking to top spin at the first opportunity. He’s a good player, there is no doubt about that; it was one really tough match.” Gustavo Gomez
Defeat for Kanak Jha means that no player from North America has reached the last four; in fact he was the only quarter-finalist from the continent. North America is eligible to field a player in the forthcoming Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in Liège, Belgium. It is understood the name of the player will be announced following the issue of the World Ranking list for August.
Success for Gustavo Gomez contrary to expectations; it was the very same for Argentina’s Gaston Alto; the no.7 seed, he overcame Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.4 seed (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 13-11, 11-4)
“At the start of the match I was too passive; as the match progressed I tried to counter top spin more and make sure that I played a strong first attack. Today I received service well and I felt confident in forehand top spin rallies; also, early in the match I was serving long and that caused him trouble because seemed to be standing very close to the table. Later I varied the length of the services more.” Gaston Alto
An impressive performance from Gaston Alto, it was the same from Brazil’s Eric Jouti, the no.3 seed, he beat Chile’s Felipe Olivares (11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-2, 11-8)
“We know each other really well, we have played many times in the past; Felipe varies his serve well, half long and long. I am pleased how I am playing here, so far so good. My focus is good; throughout I have tried to make sure I play a good first attack and make good decisions; sometimes play aggressively, sometimes play safe, not always the same, keep varying the play.” Eric Jouti
Success for one Brazilian was followed by success for another. Gustavo Tsuboi, the top seed who had finished in second place in his initial stage group, beat Marcos Madrid, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4).
Furthermore, there was a degree of revenge. At the 2016 Latin American Olympic Qualification tournament in Santiago, Gustavo Tsuboi had lost to Marcos Madrid.
“I think I played very smart today, in Santiago I was returning from injury, I led three games to one and lost. Today I made more changes, I varied my serve and I was able to be the first to attack, I didn’t give him time. He wasn’t able to anticipate my play.” Gustavo Tsuboi.
At the semi-final stage Gustavo Gomez meets Eric Jouti; Gaston Alto confronts Gustavo Tsuboi.