Tournaments

24 Nov 2018

A quarter-final exit earlier in the year in April at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, when beaten by the champion elect, Singapore’s Gao Ning, was the end result on the east coast of Australia.

Now, some seven months later; alongside Cuba’s Jorge Campos, Canada’s Eugene Wang upset the seeding as play commenced in the second round of the Men’s Singles event at the Sparta 2018 Pan American Championships in Santiago, Chile on the late afternoon of Friday 23rd November.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

After accounting for Ecuador’s Ian Aulestia (11-5, 11-1, 11-2, 11-8), Eugene Wang, the no.22 seed, overcame Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy, the no.10 seed (11-7, 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 14-12); in a somewhat similar manner Jorge Campos, the no.20 seed, ousted Uruguay’s Santiago Bernardez (11-1, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3), prior to overcoming Argentina’s Nicolas Galvano, the no.15 seed (11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 14-12).

Outcomes contrary to status but neither result was a major upset; arguably they were not upsets. Eugene Wang may not be the most powerful player on planet earth but he is one of the most consistent; notably in 2015, he reached the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the Pan American Games in Markham, losing in seven games to the eventual champion, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.

In some ways, Eugene Wang is a measure for progress, beat the Canadian and you have advanced another step; you can compete at the highest levels. Note the progress of Hugo Calderano in the past three years.

Equally, Jorge Campos has enjoyed international success of pedigree; at last year’s ITTF Pan American Championships in Cartagena de Indias, he reached the Men’s Singles quarter-finals. Later, he finished in runners up spot at the Caribbean Championships on home soil in Havana. Furthermore, earlier this year he was a semi-finalist at the Central America and Caribbean Games, in Baranquilla, Colombia.

Wins contrary to seeding; for the leading names in the top half of the draw, a direct entry to the second round, it was success without alarm bells ringing. Kanak Jha of the United States, the top seed, beat Paraguay’s Italo Ibañez (11-5, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7); likewise, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.6 seed, overcame Mexico’s Dario Arce (11-2, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8). In a similar vein, with just the loss of one game, Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.8 seed, ended the hopes of Paraguay’s Alejandro Toranzos, the no.17 seed (8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).

However, there was one exception. The exception was Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.4 seed but if you ever need a player with a strong head, there is no better than the 28 year old from Guayaquil. He beat familiar foe Argentina’s Gaston Alto, the no.18 seed, in seven games (12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 16-14, 10-12, 11-6).

Notably it was their fifth meeting in a world ranking event in a less than an 18 month period. Last year Alberto Miño had lost Gaston Alton at the ITTF Pan American Cup in San José Costa Rica, before avenging the defeat in the Men’s Singles final at the South American Championships in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, this year Gaston Alto had prevailed in the Men’s Team event at the South American Games in Cochabamba, Bolivia; at the 2018 ITTF Pan American Cup in Asuncion, Paraguay, Alberto Miño had reversed the verdict.

The third round and quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 24th November.

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Day 6 - 2018 Pan America Championships