21 Nov 2018

Eyes focused on the host nation, eyes focused on Judith Morales, Daniela Ortega and Paulina Vega as play began in the Chilean capital city of Santiago, on the morning of Tuesday 20th November at the Sparta 2018 ITTF Pan American Championships.

Most importantly when their opening contest in the Women’s Team event had concluded; in the National Olympic Centre, there were eyes full of smiles.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The no.3 seeds, with coach José Luis Urrutia sitting courtside, a three-one win was recorded against Canada, the no.11 seeds, represented by Alicia Côté, Ivy Liao and Zhang Mo.

Mainstay of the win, as so many times in recent years, was Paulina Vega; in the opening match of the contest, she partnered Judith Morales to doubles success against Alicia Côté and Ivy Liao (12-10, 11-8, 11-9), before in the third match of the engagement accounting for Alicia Côté in a full distance five games duel decided by the very minimal two point margin (11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9).

It was the pivotal contest, one match earlier, Zhang Mo had beaten Daniela Ortega (11-7, 11-4, 13-11) and, if the engagement had been extended the full five match distance, in the concluding match, Zhang Mo was the favourite against Judith Morales.

“We are happy, it is a very difficult group. We had never beaten Canada before, now we are only thinking about qualifying for Lima 2019 “. Judith Morales

However, there was to be no fifth match, Daniel Ortega soundly ended any possible dramatic conclusion. The 20 year old beat Ivy Liao in the fourth match of the contest to seal the victory (11-6, 11-8, 11-8).

Success for Chile and in a competition that witnessed four groups in the initial phase, it was initial success for the leading outfits.

“The first match was very difficult against Canada, they have a strong player in Zhang Mo.” José Luis Urrutia

Brazil represented by Gui Lin, Bruna Takahashi and Jessica Yamada, the top seeds, made an impressive start to their campaign. They recorded a three-one win in opposition to Mexico’s Marbella Aceves, Clio Barcenas and Yadira Silva; the one winner for the Mexicans being Yadira Silva who overcame Bruna Takahashi in the second match of the fixture (13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).

A four games win for Brazil, for the United States, the no.2 seeds, who selected Wang Xinyue, Wu Yue and Lily Zhang, it was a three-nil win against the Dominican Republic’s Eva Brito, Esmerlyn Castro and Yasiris Ortiz, the no.10 seeds.

Most impressive from the United States, it was the same from Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, Melanie Diaz and Daniely Rios, the no.4 seeds; they recorded a three-nil against Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes, Emely Quinllin and Astrid Salazar.

“We played Ecuador and we won, we were very happy and it has given us a lot of security.” Melanie Diaz

The second series of fixtures in the opening phase of the Women’s Team event will be played later in the day; outfits finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the main draw.

2018 Pan American Championships Paulina Vega

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Day 6 - 2018 Pan America Championships