by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Both wins mark the progress that each player has made since the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games staged in July of that year.
On that occasion, Hugo Calderano won the Men’s Singles title but in the main draw he never won one match in straight games; time and again he was tested, to his great credit time and again he prevailed.
Now two years later, en route to gold, he surrendered just one individual game; that being at the quarter-final stage when facing Cuba’s Jorge Campos, the no.11 seed (11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-3).
Frankly with the greatest of respect to all competing in Cartagena de Indias, he was a step ahead of the field; in a class of his own.
Progress most certainly but the progress made by Adriana Diaz is arguably even greater when compared with the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. On Saturday 25th July of that year she was beaten by Wu Yue, the champion elect, at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event; she was beaten comfortably losing in five games (14-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5), the consistency of the American was just too great.
Now, the fact that she emerged successful by whatever margin is a considerable achievement, even though she was the higher seeded player in Cartagena de Indias, the win may be considered somewhat contrary to expectations.
Disappointment for Wu Yue, earlier on the concluding day of action there had been further disappointment; in the Women’s Doubles final, partnering Crystal Wang, the no.3 seeds, the United States duo experienced defeat at the hands of Canada’s Alicia Cote and Zhang Mo, the no.4 seeds (12-10, 11-6, 11-7).
It was to prove the only title to be won by North America with Brazil emerging the powerhouse; on the concluding day of action Vitor Ishiy and Eric Jouti, the top seeds, added to the South American country’s collection of titles. They won the Men’s Doubles event beating Cuba’s Jorge Campos and Andy Pereira, the no.2 seeds in the final (7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8).
The result meant that Brazil departed with five of the seven titles available.
Earlier selecting Vitor Ishiy, Eric Jouti and Thiago Monteiro, they had won the Men’s Team title; likewise with Bruna Alexandre, Gui Lin and Bruna Takahashi on duty Women’s Team gold had been secured, whilst on the penultimate day, Vitor Ishiy and Bruna Takahashi had been crowned Mixed Doubles champions.