by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Alicia Cote gave Canada the perfect start by beating Andrea Estrada (11-4, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7), before Zhang Mo doubled the advantage when overcoming Mabelyn Enriquez (12-10, 11-1, 11-9).
Guatemala facing defeat, enter 15 year old Lucia Cordero, the runner up in the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the recent 2017 El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open. She recovered from a two games to one deficit against Laura Lai (11-9, 9-11, 15-13, 8-11, 11-7) and sparked a quite remarkable fightback.
Clearly motivated Andrea Estrada recorded one of the very best results of her career. She beat Zhang Mo, the highest ranked player in the whole tournament in four games (13-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9) to set the scene for Mabelyn Enriquez to be the heroine. Currently no world ranking, the 22 year old rose to the challenge, she overcame Alice Cote in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-5) to complete a remarkable recovery.
“It was the most difficult match in our group. We lost the first two matches but I was really motivated to win for my team; then Andrea won the most important of all the matches and that gave us energy.” Lucia Cordero
Success in their opening contest, in their second fixture of the day it was a second victory of the day for Guatemala. Andrea Montufar preferred to Lucia Cordero, they beat Ecuador’s Eunice Galvez, Astrid Salazar and Nikola Maldonado by three matches to one. The one win for Ecuador was recorded in the opening match of the fixture when Eunice Galvez beat Andrea Estrada by the very narrowest of five game margins (8-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 14-12).
Victory for Guatemala in their second fixture, it was the same for Canada; no changes to the line-up, they accounted for the Colombian trio of Luisa Zuluaga, Angie Umbacia and Natalia Bedoya by three matches to nil.
The win keeps alive Canadian medal hopes; teams finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the quarter-final.
In the concluding group phase fixtures, to be completed on the second day of play, Guatemala meets Ecuador, Colombia opposes Canada. The hopes of Ecuador, who also lost three-one to Colombia, are dashed; for the other three outfits the door is open.