by Simon Daish
The Paraguayan, who is aiming to qualify for a fourth consecutive Olympic Games, was second best throughout his match with Cuba’s Jorge Campos: dictating the pace and direction right from offset, no.13 seed Campos held all the answers no matter what was thrown his way in a surprisingly one-way affair (11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7).
Daniel Gonzalez was the next highest seeded player to fall short in the race for the quarter-finals. Seeded seventh, the Puerto Rican fell victim to Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji, no.14 seed, across five games (9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-1, 11-6).
The host nation celebrated what proved to be a fine session for its representatives, with no.2 seed Horacio Cifuentes and no.6 seed Gaston Alto emerging victorious over Cuba’s Andy Pereira (11-9, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8) and Dominican Republic’s Emil Santos (11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-1). Success for Cifuentes, the 23-year-old is now the highest remaining seed left in the knock-out 1 draw following Aguirre’s defeat.
Another man to watch in the race to Tokyo, Mexico’s Marcos Madrid will be delighted with his first stint at the table in Rosario after the no.3 seed breezed past Colombian opponent Alexander Echavarria in straight games (11-5, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9). Meanwhile, seeded directly below Madrid, Ecuador’s Alberto Mino put a slow start behind him to beat Jamaica’s Simon Tomlinson (10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5).
Chilean hopeful Juan Lamadrid also progresses, although it wasn’t plain sailing by any means for the eighth seed, needing six games to fend off Paraguay’s Alejandro Toranzos (9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 12-10, 11-4). The other Round of 16 tie saw Puerto Rican no.5 seed Brian Afanador topple Chile’s Gustavo Gomez (6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12, 11-7).
The men’s singles draw returns on Wednesday 14th April as the eight remaining players battle it out for two tickets to Tokyo!