by Ian Marshall, Editor
The no.2 seeds, at the final hurdle, Adriana and Melanie Diaz accounted for the top seeded United States partnership of Wu Yue and Lily Zhang (7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8) to seal the title and bring unbridled joy to their faithful supporters.
Success contrary to status; in the men’s doubles final it was the reverse scenario. Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi justified their billing at the top of the order; they overcame the next in line, Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes (11-6, 12-14, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-10).
Gold for Adriana and Melanie Diaz; moreover, in the women’s singles event they are assured of further medals. Adriana Diaz progressed as expected, the no.2 seed, she accounted for Venezuela’s Neridee Niño, the no.29 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9), prior to recording a quarter-final success in opposition to Colombia’s Paula Medina, the no.8 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6).
Rather differently, the advance of Melanie Diaz was slightly against the odds; she seized the opportunity afforded. The no.6 seed, after overcoming the Dominican Republic’s Eva Brito, the no.13 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6), she ended the fortunes of Mexico’s Yadira Silva, the no.16 seed in a tension packed contest decided by the minimal margin (8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10).
Significantly, Yadira Silva was a player in form; one round earlier she had beaten Canada’s Zhang Mo, the top seed and winner in 2011 in Guadalajara (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8).
At the semi-final stage Melanie Diaz meets Wu Yue, the no.3 seed; Adriana Diaz renews acquaintance with friend and rival, Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, the no.5 seed. Wu Yue advanced according to status. She resisted a spirited recovery by Jessica Yamada, the no.15 seed and like Bruna Takahashi from Brazil (11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 3-11, 13-15, 7-11, 11-8), before ending the hopes of Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10).
Hard earned wins for the defending champion; it was the same for Bruna Takahashi. She ousted the Dominican Republic’s Yasiris Ortiz, the no.19 seed (11-6, 11-6, 11-1, 11-7), prior to upsetting the order of merit by beating Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.4 seed, by the very narrowest of decisions (6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).
The Diaz family very much the name to note, they set all sorts of records. Additional to a first gold for Puerto Rico, they are the first siblings to combine to win a title in the table tennis events at the Pan American Games and the first to reach singles semi-final.
Attracting the attention, in counterpart men’s singles event that honour fell on the shoulders of Canada’s Eugene Wang and the Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji; both players whose seeding belies their quality.
Eugene Wang, the no.20 seed, upset the status quo by beating Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.6 seed (9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 12-10, 14-12) and Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 8-11, 14-12) to the reserve his semi-final place. Similarly, Wu Jiaji caused upset after upset. The no.24 seed, he caused a major second round surprise by overcoming Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.2 seed (11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9), prior to ending the hopes of Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.8 seed (12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4).
Awaiting Eugene Wang is Brazil’s Hugo Calderano in what is a repeat of four years ago in Toronto; for Wu Jiaji, the adversary is Kanak Jha of the United States.
Impressively, Hugo Calderano, the top seed, beat Chile’s Juan Lamadrid, the no.9 seed (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-1), followed by success against Mexico’s Marcos Madrid, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5). Meanwhile, Kanak Jha, the no.3 seed, advanced in a similarly imposing manner. He accounted for Argentina’s Gaston Alto, the no.14 seed (13-15, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9), prior to ousting Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.7 seed (11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6).
The men’s singles and women’s singles events will be played to a conclusion on Wednesday 7th August.