Tournaments

08 Aug 2019

Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles in the table tennis events at the 2019 Pan American Games in the Peruvian capital city of Lima on the evening of Wednesday 7th August.

Prestigious titles in their own right but with a greater meaning, it means for both a ticket to Japan to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Gold for Hugo Calderano meant that he retained the title won in Toronto four years earlier and in a very similar manner.

In the Canadian city he had beaten the host nation’s Eugene Wang at the semi-final stage in seven games (10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7); in Lima, they met again in the same round, Hugo Calderano repeated the feat, this time succeeding in six games (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6).

The win meant a place in the final against the Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji, the semi-final winner in opposition to Kanak Jha of the United States (9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2). Four years ago in the final Hugo Calderano had beaten Gustavo Tsuboi in seven games, affording his colleague just two points in the decider (11-6, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-2). In Lima, he did exactly the same against Wu Jiaji, recovering from a three games to two deficit before dominating the seventh (11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-2).

Wu Jiaji at full stretch in the final against Hugo Calderano (Photo: Douglas Juarez / Lima 2019)

 

Meanwhile, for Adriana Diaz, after recording a semi-final win against Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi (11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4), at the final hurdle she accounted for Wu Yue of the United States, the defending champion (11-8, 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6), the win underlining the progress made by Adriana Diaz in the past four years. At the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, at the quarter-final stage, she was beaten by Wu Yue in five games (14-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).

Moreover, the success meant Adriana Diaz completed the event without ever being extended the full seven games distance. Also she added to family pride. At the semi-final stage Wu Yue had beaten elder sister, Melanie Diaz, the no.6 seed (8-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).

Adriana Diaz, setting a record never to be beaten (Photo: Douglas Juarez / Lima 2019)

 

Success for Adriana Diaz means that she has established a record that cannot be beaten and will take a mighty effort to equal. She has won all four possible Pan American singles titles, in fact she owns all four.

Last year in the Dominican Republic she won the girls’ singles event at the 2019 Pan American Junior Championships in Santo Domingo, a title she still theoretically holds as a result of this year’s event in Cancun, unfortunately not being completed. Later in 2018 she secured the top prize in the women’s singles event at the Pan American Championships in Santiago, before earlier this year emerging successful on home soil in Guaynabo at the Universal 2019 Pan America Cup.

Puerto Rico celebrates (Photo: Douglas Juarez / Lima 2019)

 

Notably for Adriana Diaz and Hugo Calderano, it is for each their second gold medal of the tournament; the previous day Adriana Diaz had partnered Melanie Diaz to women’s doubles gold, Hugo Calderano had secured the men’s doubles top prize.

Furthermore, on the second day of action, Adriana Diaz secured bronze in the mixed doubles partnering Brian Afanador.

Hugo Calderano celebrates (Photo: Douglas Juarez / Lima 2019)

 

Attention now turns to the men’s team and women’s team events; play concludes in Lima on Saturday 10th August.

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Day 5 - 2019 Pan American Games