// Host nation's hopes alive, Eduardo Darley surprise semi-finalist - International Table Tennis Federation


18 Sep 2021

Silver medallist three days earlier in the boys’ team event at the 2021 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Friday 17th September, Eduardo Darley was very much the player in form.

Required to compete in the qualification stage of play, present on home soil, contrary to expectations, he reached the semi-final round of the under 15 boys’ singles event.

by Ian Marshall

After overcoming Mexico’s Emiliano Villagram (11-3, 11-6, 11-6), he caused a notable upset. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Peru’s Renzo Zeballos, the no.3 seed (5-11, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).

Good form, the good form continued; he accounted for Puerto Rico’s José Nieves (11-6, 11-8, 11-9) to secure a place in the penultimate round.


Unexpected progress, for the remaining semi-finalists, it was life as anticipated. The respective top three seeds, Brazil’s Leonardo Kenzo, Nandan Naresh of the United States and Puerto Rico’s Derek Valentin, all advanced.

However, progress was not without some moments of consternation, especially for Leonardo Kenzo; at the quarter-final stage, he needed the full seven games to overcame Daniel Tran of the United States (12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-7), a young man who had completed the team event unbeaten.

Leonardo Kenzo (BRA) v Eduardo Darley (DOM)
Derek Valentin (PUR) v Nandan Naresh (USA)

Full House

Disappointment for the United States, in the counterpart under 15 girls’ singles event, it was the very opposite; they provided all four semi-finalists.

Emily Tan and Faith Hu, the top two seeds advanced as expected; Sara Jalli and Sally Moyland were the surprises.

Both required to qualify, after beating Guatemala’s Kimberley Garcia (11-4, 11-3, 11-2), Sarah Jalli ousted Canada’s Demi Cai, the round one winner against Brazil’s Karina Shiray, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-9), prior to overcoming Puerto Rico’s Edmarie Leon (11-8, 11-6, 15-13) to reserve her last four place.

Successes against Puerto Rican opposition to gain a penultimate round berth, it was the same for Sally Moyland; after recording most impressive wins against Mexico’s Ximena Figueroa (11-7, 11-7, 11-6) and Ecuador’s Maria Borja, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-3, 11-3), she overcame Kristal Melendez, the no.3 seed (11-5, 11-7, 11-5) to secure her semi-final place.

Emily Tan (USA) v Sally Moyland (USA)
Sarah Jalli (USA) v Faith Hu (USA)

Finalists Known

Semi-finalists known; in the under 15 boys’ doubles and under 15 girls’ doubles the finalists were determined.

Nandan Naresh and Daniel Tran beat Leonardo Kenzo and Brazilian colleague Abimael Menezes (11-7, 11-8, 11-8) to reach the under 15 boys’ doubles final. They meet Derek Valentin and José Nieves, the penultimate round winners against the United States combination of Darius Fahimi and Jensen Feng (11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

Meanwhile, in the under 15 girls’ doubles final, it is an all North American affair, Demi Cai and Canadian compatriot, Fu Ching Nam confront Sarah Jalli and Sally Moyland.

Demi Cai and Fu Ching Nam reserved their place courtesy of success against Ecuador’s Kimberley Barros and Keimy Achundia (11-9, 12-14, 8-11, 14-12, 11-7); Sarah Jalli and Sally Moyland ended the hopes of Guatemala’s Daniela Linares and Katerine Ruiz (11-4, 11-6, 11-3).

Play at 2021 ITTF Pan American Youth Championships concludes on Saturday 18th September.

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