by Simon Daish
Favourite to progress, Chile’s Gustavo Gomez was the highest seeded player on display in the opening round of action and he didn’t disappoint!
Tasked with negotiating Guyana’s Joel Alleyne, no.9 seed Gomez was looking to lay down a marker on his first appearance at the table in Rosario and he did exactly that, besting Alleyne by a commanding 4-0 score-line (11-6, 11-5, 11-8, 11-2).
Cuban table tennis shone brightly in the opening session of the day with Jorge Campos and Andy Pereira both registering winning starts. Campos, no.13 seed, needed just the four games to see off Jamaican counterpart Kane Watson (11-3, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6) – no.11 seed Pereira was even more impressive, dropping a combined total of just 12 points in his meeting with Uruguay’s Pablo Palou (11-2, 11-2, 11-3, 11-5).
Two successful stories for Cuba and there were two for the Dominican Republic as well: Emil Santos and Wu Jiaji, seeded at no.10 and no.14 respectively, proved too hot to handle in the Round of 32 with Barbados’ Tyrese Knight (13-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9) and Guatemala’s Allan Gutierrez (11-2, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4) tasting defeat at the opening hurdle.
Alexander Echavarria upset seeding expectations with the Colombian no.22 seed moving through at the expense of no.16 seed Hector Gatica. Falling just short to the Guatemalan in a dramatic opening to the match, Echavarria produced a great response with four game wins on the bounce to ensure his place in the Round of 16 (12-14, 11-5, 11-7, 13-11, 11-7).
Another shock came courtesy of Jamaica’s Simon Tomlinson – the no.19 seed established control early on in his encounter with no.15 seed Cecilio Correa and displayed nerves of steel to prevent a successful comeback charge from the Venezuelan (11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12).
Elsewhere, Paraguay’s Alejandro Toranzos, no.12 seed, showed great determination to come through a tight contest against Guyana’s Shemar Britton (11-5, 8-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3).
Action resumes from 16.00 local time as the attention shifts to the men’s singles Round of 16.