by Ian Marshall, Editor
The player in question is Puerto Rico’s 18 year old Adriana Diaz; currently she is the holder of three Pan American titles, succeed in Lima and she has the full house.
Last year in Santo Domingo, she secured junior girls’ singles gold, a title she still holds as a result of this year’s event not being completed. Later in 2018 she emerged the women’s singles winner in Santiago, before at the beginning of this year succeeding on home soil in Guaynabo at the Universal 2019 ITTF Pan America Cup.
It is the latter tournament which reflects the difference of four years ago. In Toronto, Adriana Diaz was beaten by Wu Yue at the quarter-final stage of proceedings in five games (14-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5); in Guaynabo they met one round later, Adriana Diaz prevailed in a hard fought seven games encounter (11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4).
In the final, to the delight of the home supporters, Adriana Diaz secured the title at the final expense of Canada’s Zhang Mo (13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9). In Lima, Zhang Mo is the top seed with Adriana Diaz and Wu Yue the next in the order of merit.
However, note the name of the no.4 seed, Lily Zhang of the United States; at the Universal 2019 ITTF Pan American Cup she experienced a seven games quarter-final defeat at the hands of Zhang Mo (11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4), the player she had been at the inaugural edition at the final hurdle in 2017 in San José, Costa Rica.
A last eight exit in Guaynabo but could Lily Zhang provide the biggest challenge to Adriana Diaz in her quest for the full house? In their most recent meeting, earlier this year in Otocec at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open, Lily Zhang prevailed in their women’s singles third round contest (11-7, 16-14, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7).
Add the likes of Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Mexico’s Yadira Silva to the equation, both are contenders for honours having enjoyed continental success, an intriguing women’s singles event awaits and one wonders, a record that will stand the test of time.