08 Feb 2020

The top eight names in each of the men’s and women’s event at the Universal 2020 ITTF Pan America Cup in Guaynabo started the opening day of play, Friday 7th February, with high hopes; all finished the day with aspirations intact.

However, there were some nervous moments, especially for the local supporters as they watched Melanie Diaz eventually succeed.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Occupying the no.6 seeded position in the women’s event, she eventually overcame Chile’s Daniela Ortega, the no.9 seed (11-8, 9-11, 13-15, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9) thus brought a trilogy of success for the host nation to a positive conclusion.

Earlier in the evening, younger sister, Adriana Diaz, the top seed and defending champion had beaten Brazil’s Jessica Yamada, the no.11 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8), immediately following, cousin Brian Afanador had succeeded in the men’s competition. He overcame Guatemala’s Kevin Montufar, the no.15 seed (11-4, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3).

Three wins for Puerto Rico as expected; the only reverse was also as to be anticipated; in the men’s event, Hector Berrios experienced defeat when facing Kanak Jha of the United States, the no.2 seed and runner up one year ago (11-3, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4).

Comprehensive wins

A comprehensive win for Kanak Jha; it was the same for Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.3 seed and for Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed. Gustavo Tsuboi beat Canada’s Marko Medjugorac, the no.13 seed (11-6, 9-11, 15-13, 11-6, 11-4), Marcelo Aguirre overcame the Dominican Republic’s Emil Santos, the no.12 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6).

Rather differently, for Hugo Calderano, the top seed and like Gustavo Tsuboi also from Brazil, in his quest to win the title for a third consecutive year, he endured testing times. He had to recover from a two games to one deficit to beat Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, the no.10 seed (8-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-7, 11-0, 11-8).

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals, Order of Play (seeded positions in brackets)

  • 11.00 Gustavo Tsuboi Brazil (3) v Albero Miño Ecuador (7)
  • 12.40 Marcos Madrid Mexico (6) v Kanak Jha United States (2)
  • 17.00 Hugo Calderano Brazil (1) v Horacio Cifuentes Argentina (5)
  • 18.40 Brian Afanador Puerto Rico (8) v Marcelo Aguirre Paraguay (4)

Eventual success for the top four names in the men’s event, it was the same in the women’s. In addition to Adriana Diaz, Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.2 seed, beat Guatemala’s Mabelyn Enriquez, the no.13 seed (11-1, 11-5, 11-1, 11-2), colleague Wu Yue the no.3 seed, ousted Canada’s Sophie Gauthier, the no.15 seed.

Not to be outdone, Zhang Mo, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of the Dominican Republic’s Eva Brito, the no.14 seed (11-2, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6).

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals, Order of Play (seeded positions in brackets)

  • 11.50 Paulina Vega Chile (7) v Wu Yue United States (3)
  • 13.30 Zhang Mo Canada (4) v Bruna Takahashi Brazil (5)
  • 17.50 Melanie Diaz Puerto Rico (6) v Lily Zhang United States (2)
  • 19.30 Adriana Diaz Puerto Rico (1) v Yadira Silva Mexico (8)

The quarter-finals of both the men’s and women’s events will be played to a conclusion on Saturday 8th February.

2020 Pan America Cup Melanie Diaz

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