03 Feb 2019

Opponents six months ago when the tournament was staged Asuncion; six months later on Sunday 3rd February, the line up at the semi-final stage of the men’s event at the Universal 2019 Pan America Cup in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico was exactly the same.

Brazil’s Hugo Calderano faced Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre; colleague Gustavo Tsuboi opposed Kanak Jha of the United States; in the Paraguayan capital city, in each encounter the Brazilians had prevailed in straight games. In Guaynabo the outcome was very different.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.2 seed and winner in San José, Costa Rica in 2017 but beaten by Kanak Jha en route to the title, suffered once again at the hands of the American teenager, the no.3 seed. He was experienced defeat in six games (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8).

“Last year I lost easily, I wasn’t that well prepared; this year I was well prepared. At the end of last year I had lost to Gustavo in the German League; today the most important factor was that I received service well. A good receive, especially from his long service, I felt confident in the rallies. In 2017 I beat him in San José, so I knew I could compete against a player of his level; that gave me confidence in the important points.” Kanak Jha

Defeat for Gustavo Tsuboi, for Hugo Calderano, the top seed; it was success but hard earned success against a highly motivated Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed. Hugo Calderano prevailed but he had to recover from a two games to one deficit (11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11).

“It took me time to adapt to his style; he was very aggressive and opened the play. It was difficult to control his attacking play. I had to play more positively and try to put him under pressure. Gradually I was able to adapt and control the match.” Hugo Calderano

Success for Hugo Calderano and Kanak Jha means they qualify for the ITTF Men’s World Cup to be staged in Chengdu, China later in the year.

2019 Pan Am Cup Hugo Calderano Kanak Jha Gustavo Tsuboi Marcelo Aguirre

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Day 3 - Universal 2019 ITTF-Pan American Cup