30 Jul 2017

The respective top two seeds, Canada’s Zhang Mo and Lily Zhang of the United States, emerged successful at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Pan American Cup in San José, Costa Rica on the evening of Saturday 29th July.

Both justified their status in the competition.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In an imposing manner, Zhang Mo, the top seed, beat Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.7 seed, in straight games (11-2, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3); the style employed by the Canadian being very much alien to the Chilean.

Notably, Zhang Mo plays with reversed rubber on the backhand, short pimpled rubber on the forehand.

“She didn’t like my style of play; especially when I played from my forehand. I knew she was strong with her forehand top spin, so I kept away!” Zhang Mo

Defeat for Paulina Vega but it was mission accomplished; the only Latin American to reach the last four, her place in the Uncle Pop 2017 Women’s World Cup to be held later this year in Markham, Toronto was already assured.

It means that she is the third Chilean to achieve the feat. Sofija Tepes competed in Phnom Penh in 2000, Berta Rodriguez the following year in Wuhu.

“Sure, I’m delighted I have qualified for the Women’s World Cup; the first time. Zhang Mo was just too fast for me.” Paulina Vega

Success in straight games for Zhang Mo, for Lily Zhang against compatriot, Wu Yue, the no.5 seed, it was success but somewhat closer, a five games verdict was the result.

The first four games were all decided by the minimal two point margin; Wu Yue after holding a lead eventually secured the opening game before Lily Zhang responded. Fast close to the table counter attacking exchanges, neither player giving ground, Lily Zhang captured the next three games.

In the fifth game she went ahead 6-5, Wu Yu called “Time Out”. It appeared at the time a quite reasonable decision; it was to prove the exact opposite. She won just one more point. In five games (10-12, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6), Lily Zhang had booked a place in the final.

“I really cannot explain why the first four games were so close; then in the fifth after the “Time Out” I lost just one more point. We are of the same level, the vital factor was to be strong mentally.” Lily Zhang

The schedule for the finals will commence at 1.00pm (local time) on Sunday 30th July.

Note: the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event will commence at 10.00am on Sunday 30th July

Day Five: Jordan Junior and Cadet Open
Photos: Herbert Arly and Carlos Borban

World Cup 2017 Pan American Cup Lily Zhang Zhang Mo Paulina Vega Wu Yue

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