by Ian Marshall, Editor
All three commenced matters as the second seeds in their respective men’s singles categories.
Competing in class 2, Luis Bustamente accounted for Brazil’s Guilherme Marcio da Costa, the top seed, at the final hurdle (11-13, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9); similarly in the title deciding contest in class 3, Jan Guertler overcame the host nation’s Gabriel Copola (7-11, 17-15, 11-4, 11-7), like Guilherme Marcio da Costa the top seed.
“I came here thinking on getting ranking points, since I have lost some places after the European Championships and I must recover. It was after that tournament that I decided to come to Argentina but I also did it looking forward to being the champion and I’m happy for having accomplished that.
The final against Argentina’s Gabriel Copola was a very nice game, it wasn’t simple at all. I faced some problems in the first game but I could adjust in the following ones to win. Concentration was a key factor for me. I have to focus on maintaining the good aspects of my game and correct the most of the rest in order to qualify to Tokyo 2020, which is my main goal today. Having won this Copa Tango for sure will be a boost.” Jan Guertler
Straightforward; for Steven Roman in class 8, life was a little different and a case of déjà vu. He accounted for Brazil’s João Fernanto in the final (14-12, 11-6, 11-7), a player he had beaten earlier in the proceedings in the group stage (11-5, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3).
Second place in the group was the end result for the Brazilian who seized full advantage of the situation; a place in the main draw secured, in the penultimate round he beat Argentina’s Pablo Kroztch (11-9, 11-7, 11-9), the quarter-final winner in opposition to Arufuarhirokazu Tateishi, the top seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-9).
Nervous moments for Chee Chao Ming
Otherwise, the titles decided on the opening day of action all ended in the hands of the top seeds; however, in class 9 for Chee Chao Ming it was not without moments of alarm.
In the group phase of play he lost to Brazil’s Reginaldo Caldeira (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5). Second place in the group was the outcome; at the quarter-final stage he beat Japan’s Takuya Nakajima, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-5), prior to ousting colleague, Ting Ing Hock, the no.2 seed (11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10) and Flavio Conceicao, like Reginaldo Caldeira, also from Brazil (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5) to secure the title.
Disappointment for Brazil but in the men’s singles events there was success. Claudio Massad emerged the class 10 winner beating Manuel Echaveguren in the final (11-9, 11-6, 11-3); thus for the Chilean it was his second silver medal in consecutive days. Some 24 hours earlier he had been beaten in the junior final by Chee Chao Ming (13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8).
“I came prepared to be the champion but this is always a tough tournament with many good players. For example, Chile’s Manuel Echaveguren, who I played in the final, he’s currently training in Germany so he’s improving a lot. Luckily I could come out with a great result. I came here with a bit of sadness, having lost the Pan Am Games gold medal match, I was the top seed in Lima. So this championship means a lot to me.
Besides, I have wanted to play in Argentina for many years, so I’m even happier. My best feature was to be able to constantly change my game, variating from service pressure to a more offensive style and then blocking the opponent; that was crucial.
I want to thank my wife, my mother and my daughter for this win, this is for them. It’s very hard to be fully dedicated to this sport in Latin America so all of us make a great effort being away from our families. I will enjoy sharing this win with them. I’m already focused on my next goal, qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
Having so many players from other continents is a great boost for table tennis in our region. We have to grow from their way of playing, watching them, learning and sharing moments with them. These are times to seize and improve.” Claudio Massad
Runners up spot for Manuel Echaveguren, for colleagues Maximiliano Rodriguez and Ignacio Torres it was first prize, the top seeded position justified. Maximiliano Rodriguez secured the class 4 title at the final expense of Brazil’s Ecildo Lopez (12-10, 11-9, 11-7); in a group organised class 6 event, Ignacio Torres finished ahead of Argentina’s Rodrigo Demoor and Brazil’s Luiz Medina.
Mixed fortunes for Argentina
Success for Chile, for Argentina it was somewhat mixed fortunes. Elias Romero finished ahead of Korea Republic’s Jeon Taebyeong and colleague Giuliano Balbi in a class 7 group organised event. Conversely, Aleksy Kaniuka, who had beaten Japan’s Kazuya Kaneko, the no.2 seed, in the group stage (9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 14-12), experienced defeat in the final when facing top seeded Frenchman Kevin Dourbecker (11-3, 11-4, 11-4).
Titles for the top seeds, in the women’s singles competition, it was the same in class 7-10. In a group administered event, Romania’s Ioana-Monica Tepelea finished ahead of Argentina’s Giselle Muñoz and Brazil’s Elem Alves.
“I had to play against class 7 and class 8 players, because the categories were merged due to the amount of players. It was kind of expected for me to win because of that. We are happy for the way everyone treats us in Argentina and this tournament is very important to collect points ahead of the qualifier in Slovenia. From here, we’re moving to Costa Rica to continue earning points.
I think the toughest match was against Argentina’s Giselle Muñoz but overall I always knew I could become the champion if I kept playing the way I know with enough focus.” Ioana-Monica Tepelea
Top seeds on course
Overall ten events completed, two remain; the top seeds being very much on course. In men’s singles class 1, in a group competition Cuba’s Yunier Fernandez remains unbeaten as does Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamente, the no.3 seed.
Meanwhile, in women’s singles class 2-5, Brazil’s Thais Fraga Severo has progressed to the final as anticipated; she meets the host nation’s Maria Garrone, the surprise semi-final winner in opposition to Cuba’s Yanelis Silva, the no.2 seed (11-9, 6-11, 11-2, 11-7).
Team events now follow, play concludes in Buenos Aires on Sunday 24th November.
2019 Copa Tango: Latest Results from Buenos Aires