by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Brazilians Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi duly progressed to the Men’s Singles final, for the women it was Canada’s Zhang Mo and Wu Yue of the United States.
Hugo Calderano, whose one previous experience of competing in the Men’s World Cup had been in 2016, faced few problems advancing to the final. At the quarter-final stage he beat Chile’s Gustavo Gomez, the no.7 seed (13-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5), prior to reserving his place in the title deciding contest, courtesy of success in opposition to the host nation’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed (11-6, 11-4, 11-2, 11-9).
Straight games successes for one Brazilian, for Gustavo Tsuboi, who had competed in the Men’s World Cup on three prior occasions, life was very different. In his opening contest he had to recover from a three games to nil deficit to beat Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.8 seed (9-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6), before rather more comfortably at the semi-final stage overcoming Kanak Jha of the United States, the no.3 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4).
Thus for the second consecutive year an all Brazilian Men’s Singles final accrued; last year in Costa Rica at the inaugural Pan America Cup, Gustavo Tsuboi had beaten Eric Jouti in the title decider.
Likewise, in Costa Rica, it had been an all North American Women’s Singles final when Lily Zhang of the United States had overcome Canada’s Zhang Mo; in Asuncion the same nations will once again contest the top prize, the only difference being that Wu Yue is the representative for the Stars and Stripes.
In Asuncion, Zhang Mo, the top seed, accounted for Wang Xinyue, like Wu Yue from the United States and the no.15 seed (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, 11-1), before overcoming Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, the no.4 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9) to secure her place in the final.
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw; Wu Yue, the no.2 seed, overcame Caroline Kumahara, the no.9 seed and also from Brazil (11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6), prior to recording a semi-final success in opposition to Mexico’s Yadira Silva, the no.10 seed (10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6). Notably one round earlier, Yadira Silva had beaten Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4).
It will be the fifth time that Zhang Mo has qualified for the Women’s World Cup, the second time for Wu Yue.
The finals of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, in addition to the third place contests, will be played on Sunday 17th June.