by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The first player to achieve the feat was Wu Yue of the United States; having earlier in the day experienced defeat at the hands of Canada’s Zhang Mo, the top seed (11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8), she recovered to beat Colombia’s Angie Umbacia in straight games (11-6, 11-3, 11-4).
Zhang Mo duly accounted for Guatemala’s Andrea Estrada to reserve top spot (11-3, 11-7, 11-1).
“Overall I’m pleased with today, I have no complaints, everything was normal for me; I lost to Zhang Mo but she’s a good player. I’m ready for tomorrow.” Wu Yue
Places in the main draw secured by Zhang Mo and Wu Yue; soon after the Dominican Republic’s Eva Brito and Brazil’s Gui Lin followed suit. Gui Lin, the no.3 seed, who earlier in the day had lost to Eva Brito (11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-1), beat Costa Rica’s Angie Araya (11-8, 11-3, 11-7) to reserve second place; Eva Brito maintained her unbeaten record, accounting for Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz (11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9) to secure first place.
“I felt I could win the rallies, I focused on keeping the ball on the table but the main factor is mental, fight, fight, fight. It is the main area in which I have improved the most in recent months; I used to lose concentration but now I’m much better.” Eva Brito
Runners up spot and a place in the main draw for Gui Lin; it was the same for Colombia’s Paula Medina. In a hard fought contest, she beat El Salvador’s Estefania Ramirios (11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 15-1) to finish in second place behind Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.2 seed. Impressively, Lily Zhang concluded her initial phase matches unbeaten by accounting for Peru’s Angela Mori (11-3, 11-7, 11-5).
Success for Gui Lin and Paula Medina as was anticipated; however, there was an upset as matters concluded.
Canada’s Alicia Cote, without a win to her name, beat Chile’s Paulina Vega after saving one match point in a nail-biting fifth and deciding game. It was a game in which she led 7-3, Paulina Vega elected for “Time Out” and reduced the difference in favour of the Canadian to one point at 7-6.
At that stage Alicia Cote called “Time Out” but at 10-9 it advantage Paulina Vega; the match point was saved, the next two points went in favour of Alicia Cote. It was success for a very calm 17 year old (11-3, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10). The win was too late to secure a main draw place but it was a most satisfactory way for the young Canadian to finish her exploits.
“The main reason I won was that I was able to attack first, serve short to the middle with backspin and sometimes no spin; then attack the middle. If I kept playing towards her elbow she had problems; also when I played to her forehand she always returned across the diagonal to my backhand, so I was ready to block.” Alicia Cote
Defeat but first place in the group was the eventual outcome for Paulina Vega. Earlier she had caused a major upset by beating Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara, the no.4 seed (11-3, 12-10, 12-10). In her concluding group phase engagement, Caroline Kumahara overcame the Dominican Republic’s Esmeryln Castro (11-3, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7) and thus like Paulina Vega finished the day with two wins.
In such instances where two players are level, the match between the two decides; thus it was first place for Paulina Vega with Caroline Kumahara in second spot.
Photos: Carlos Borban