by Ian Marshall
At the 2021 Latin American Qualification Tournament in the Argentine city of Rosario, he was the man in form. The no.13 seed, after having ousted Jamaica’s Kane Watson, the no.20 seed (11-3, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6), he accounted for Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the top seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7), a player seeking his fourth consecutive Olympic Games appearance.
Defeat for one player with Olympic Games experience, there was defeat for another, in what was a reversal of fortunes for Cuba; Andy Pereira who competed in London, was beaten by Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes (11-9, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8). However, different to the exit of Marcelo Aguirre, the outcome was no surprise; Horacio Cifuentes was the no.2 seed, lower down the order, Andy Pereira, the no.11 seed.
Progress for Horacio Cifuentes, except for Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez, the no.7 seed, beaten by the Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji, the no.14 seed (9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-1, 11-6), a result that considering the pedigree of Wu Jiaji was no surprise, it was success for the leading names.
Mexico’s Marcos Madrid, the no.3 seed, accounted for Colombia’s Alex Echavarria, the no.22 seed (11-5, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9), Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.4 seed, overcame Jamaica’s Simon Tomlinson, the no.19 seed (10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5).
Similarly, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador accounted for Chile’s Gustavo Gomez, the no.9 seed (6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12, 11-7), Argentina’s Gaston Alto, the no.6 seed, ousted the Dominican Republic’s Emil Santos, the no.10 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-1); like Gustavo Gomez from Chile, Juan Lamadrid, the no.8 seed, doused the hopes of Paraguay’s Alejandro Toranzos (9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 12-10, 11-4).
Tough times for Paraguay but there was a chink of light. Leyla Gomez, the no.17 seed, suffered at the hands of Colombia’s Paula Medina, the no.9 seed (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-3) but keeping hopes alive, Lucero Ovelar, the no.10 seed, defeated Trinidad and Tobago’s Rheann Chung, the no.20 seed (12-10, 5-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-6.
On Wednesday 14th April, both the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be played to a conclusion; the successful semi-finalists will gain Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games places, the finals will not be played.