07 Aug 2019

The hosts in 1979 when table tennis was first staged in the Pan American Games, on Tuesday 6th August in Lima, there was another landmark in the discipline for the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a first ever gold.

Sisters Adriana and Melanie Diaz combined to win the women’s doubles event, the success coming prior to Brazil adding yet another title to its incredible collection, Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi emerged the men’s doubles champions.

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).

Success for Gustavo Tsuboi in partnership with Hugo Calderano (Photo: Lima 2019)


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).

Yadira Silva caused the biggest upset of the day by beating Zhang Mo (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)


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).

Bruna Takahashi awaits Adriana Diaz in the penultimate round (Photo: Robert Valai)


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.

Eugene Wang, upsetting the order of merit in Lima (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)


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).

A successful day for Wu Jiaji (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)


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).

Kanak Jha safely through to the semi-finals (Photo: Rémy Gros)


The men’s singles and women’s singles events will be played to a conclusion on Wednesday 7th August.

2019 Pan American Games Adriana Diaz Melanie Diaz

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Day 5 - 2019 Pan American Games