15 Feb 2020

A quarter-final exit at the Universal 2020 Pan America Cup in the Puerto Rican city of Guaynabo, just under one week ago, Ecuador’s Alberto Miño was the player to fly the flag for the continent on Friday 14th February at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open in Lisbon.

Contrary to expectations, the no.18 seed, he reserved a third round place.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In Guaynabo, he experienced defeat at the hands of Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the eventual runner up; he experienced defeat in a closely contested seven games exchange (11-6, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6).

He proved himself a most worthy adversary, in Lisbon he beat most worthy adversaries; players against whom notable names have experienced problems.

In the opening round the 29 year old from the city of Guayaquil beat Zhang Kai of the United States in five games (11-6, 11-8, 15-13, 8-11, 13-11), followed by success against Japan’s Masataka Morizono, the no.5 seed (11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9), to cause one of the day’s biggest upsets.

Master of upsets

Big upset but if one player above all others in 2019 was the master of causing big upsets it was 22 year old Zhang Kai; in September at the ITTF Challenge Plus Paraguay Open in the country’s capital city of Asuncion, he beat Japan’s Koki Niwa in the first round, at the time listed at no.11 on the men’s world rankings.

Good form in Asuncion, it was the same from Masataka Morizono, he progressed to win the men’s singles event overcoming Austria’s Robert Gardos in the final, the player who at the recent CCB 2020 ITTF Europe Top 12 tournament in Montreux finished in the bronze medal position. Thus the Austrian has undoubtedly secured a place in the Liebherr 2020 Men’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in the German city of Düsseldorf in October.

Reflects mental strength

Also, look at the score-lines closely, against both Zhang Kai and Masataka Morizono, he won the close games, those decided by the minimal two point margin; that sums up Alberto Miño, mentally he is one of the strongest players on the international scene.

I wonder if there was a detailed record of his career results, how many times he was won games determined by the minimal margin; I strongly suspect the wins outweigh the losses.

Claim to fame

Crowned South American men’s singles champion in the three most recent editions starting in 2015, does he have another claim to fame? It is through that route he qualifies for the continental cup competitions.

At the 2015 ITTF Latin America Cup in the Cuban capital city of Havana, the days before the Pan America Cup, at the quarter-final stage, Alberto Miño recorded a straight games win against a very promising Brazilian teenager.

Is that the last time Hugo Calderano lost to a player from Pan America, for sure the last time in straight games!

Challenge Series 2020 Portugal Open Alberto Miño

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Day 3 - 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open