by Ian Marshall, Editor
Facing the second seeds in the gold medal contests, a 3-0 victory margin was the outcome in each engagement.
In the girls’ team final a resounding success was recorded against the Canadian combination of Ivy Liao, Joyce Xu and Benita Zhou; in the ensuing boys’ team gold medal contest no charity was afforded in opposition to Chile’s Nicolas Burgos, Andres Martinez and Jorge Paredes.
Assured of a place in the forthcoming 2019 World Junior Championships, the previous day having reached the final. In the boys’ team event, the one further place available for Pan America was secured by Peru’s Felipe Duffoo, Jhon Loli and Carlos Fernandez; in the counterpart girls’ team competition by Brazil’s Livia Lima, Guilia Takahashi and Laura Watanabe.
Story of the Day
09.00 Junior Girls’ Team Qualification
Full distance five match contests, Brazil, the no.5 seeds, beat Mexico, the no.10 seeds, before after just 10 minutes short of three hours Ecuador, the no.6 seeds, eventually overcame Chile, the no.4 seeds.
Mainstay of the Brazilian win was Livia Lima; in the opening contest she beat Arely Cervantes (11-7, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7), before in the fifth match of the engagement, overcoming Anais de Leon Chapa (11-4, 11-7, 11-3). It was a vital win, following defeat for Laura Watanabe at the hands Clio Barcenos (11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8), Brazil trailed by two matches to one.
“Playing first I was nervous but I made a good start so that gave me confidence; my forehand top spin stroke was effective, important I played with lot of rotation. Against Anais I was able to play my top spins to over power her; at that stage we were losing 1-2, so I tried not to think of the score but focus on point by point.” Livia Lima
Notably, Anais de Leon Chapa is very different from the norm in Latin America. She is a right handed defender who, in the second match of the contest, had covered every inch of the court to beat Giulia Takahashi (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 15-13). Defeat for Giulia Takahashi but she had the last laugh, in the vital fifth match she accounted for Arely Cervantes (11-9, 11-4, 11-2) to seal to victory.
An unbeaten performance by Livia Lima steered Brazil to victory; it was the same for Ecuador in the guise of Nathaly Paredes. Against Chile she overcame both Macarena Montecino (7-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6) and Valentina Rios (8-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-3). The latter success levelled matters after Alejandra Veintimilla Vergara had lost to Natalie Ramos (12-10, 11-13, 12-10, 11-8); moreover, it set up Mylena Plaza to be the heroine. In the vital concluding match of the fixture, she overcame Macarena Montecino (11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10).
“I felt under immense pressure, I told myself to stay calm. I felt more confident if we had long points. In the fourth game against Macarena I was down 4-8; I changed by services, I used the backhand service more. I so happy I won and won for the team.” Mylena Plaza.
11.00 Junior Boys’ Team Qualification
In search of the vital third place, tensions were high as Brazil and Peru prevailed, both recording 3-1 wins.
Represented by Rafael Torino, Guilherme Teodoro and Lauro Sebold, Brazil, the no.3 seeds, accounted for the no.4 seeds, Argentina’s Santiago Lorenzo, Matias Velarde and Lautoro Sato; Peru, the no.6 seeds with Jhon Loli, Felipe Duffoo and Carlos Fernandez in action prevailed in opposition to the no.5 seeds, Canada’s Edward Ly, Terence Yeung and Tommy Xu.
Backbone of the Brazilian victory was Guilherme Teodoro; he beat Matias Velarde (7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11), before inflicting the first defeat in the whole tournament on Santiago Lorenzo (11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
“First match I didn’t feel that comfortable, I had to focus on just putting the ball on the table; gradually I relaxed, my feeling for the ball improved and everything was better. Santiago has been playing very well here, at the start of the match I found it difficult to serve short, I was serving half-long all the time. Later I was able to serve short with no spin and I became more consistent.” Guilherme Teodoro
Guilherme Teodoro, the key man for Brazil, for Peru that role belonged to Carlos Fernandez; matters level in the third match of the contest, the 15 year old recovered Tommy Xu from a two games to nil deficit to beat Tommy Xu by the very narrowest of margins (7-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 16-14).
“I was nervous before the match, I knew if I could win it would be a big boost for the team. In the first and second games I had no rhythm to my play, I couldn’t put the first ball on the table! Gradually, I improved, from the third game onwards my feeling for the ball was much better.” Carlos Fernandez.
15.00 Junior Girls’ Team Final
Selecting Crystal Wang, Amy Wang and Rachel Sung, Brazil, the top seeds recorded a 3-0 win in opposition to the no.2 seeds, the Canadian trio formed by Ivy Liao, Joyce Xu and Benita Zhou.
Crystal Wang gave the United States the ideal start, she recovered from an opening game deficit to beat Ivy Liao (10-12, 11-3, 13-11, 12-10).
“I’ve played Ivy many times in the past and always I have won; that made be nervous knowing I was expected to win. I was very tense in the first game, I made mistakes, I could gain a lead. She pushed the ball long, I expected her to play short. The games were close but as the match progressed I became more confident and she lost confidence.” Crystal Wang.
Success for Crystal Wang, Amy Wang followed suit, she accounted for Joyce Xu (11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-6), before Rachel Sung overcame Benita Zhou (11-9, 11-6, 11-5) to end matters.
15.00 Junior Girls’ Team Third Place
Represented by Livia Lima, Giulia Takahashi and Laura Watanabe; Brazil, the no.5 seeds, secured third place recording a 3-2 win in opposition to the no.6 seeds, Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes, Mylena Plaza and Alejandra Veintimilla Vergara.
The player to cause the Brazilians problems was Nathaly Paredes. She beat both Giulia Takahashi (7-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9) and Livia Lima (7-11, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10). Saviour of the day for Brazil was Giulia Takahashi; in the decisive fifth and concluding match, she accounted for Alejandra Veintimilla Vergara (11-7, 11-3, 11-3).
“Against Nathaly after I led 2-0 my performance level dropped. At 2-2 I tried to recover but she was increasingly confident. For the second match I knew I had to change everything in my head, I was nervous but it was a decisive match and I had to look forward.” Giulia Takahashi
Notably Nathaly Paredes ended the tournament unbeaten.
17.00 Junior Boys’ Team Final
A good start need, nobody in the whole tournament started more impressively than Sharon Alguetti; he gave the United States the perfect boost of confidence by beating Nicolas Burgos, Chile’s top play in three straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-7). Positive was an understatement!
“We had a long discussion before the match today, we all slept this morning so we were thoroughly prepared. We felt that Chile needed Burgos to win both his matches, I was happy to play in whatever position I was needed. Last year I’d lost to him in five games, I knew what to expect; he had problems receiving my service but most importantly I was positive from the start.” Sharon Alguetti
Impressive from Sharon Alguetti, it was the same from Nikhil Kumar; he accounted for Andres Martinez (11-7, 11-5, 11-8), before Victor Liu reflected the spirit in the team. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Jorge Paredes (9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7).
17.00 Junior Boys’ Team Third Place
Facing Brazil, Peru performed a quite incredible recovery to secure third place. In the opening match of the contest, Felipe Duffoo lost to Rafael Torino by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding fifth game, having held one match point in the fourth (7-11, 3-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7). Immediately following in an equally tension packed contest, Jhon Loli suffered at the hands of Guilherme Teodoro (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 10-12, 13-11).
It was at that stage the Peruvian recovery began. Carlos Fernandez beat Lauro Sebold (12-10, 11-5, 11-6), followed by Felipe Duffoo, a young man who kept remarkably calm in the heat of the battle, to overcome Guilherme Teodoro (11-8, 11-7, 11-2) and level matters. The outcome in the hands of Jhon Loli and Rafael Torino, it was Jhon Loli who prevailed. In an electric atmosphere he secured a four games win (11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10). Peru celebrated!
“It is the first time that Peru has qualified for the World Junior Championships; we now have a strong team. I was really motivated in the last match by my friend Carlos Fernandez. Before he played in the third match we all said that if he could win everything was possible and we could turn the match around.” Jhon Loli