02 Nov 2021

Ecuador's Diego Piguave upset Tom Closset by defeating the top seed Belgian to clinch the Under-19 Boys' Singles title at WTT Youth Contender Cuenca.

by Calvin Koh

The first two games were evenly poised, with Closset seizing the early initiative, winning the first game 11-7. Piguave ranked 196 in the ITTF Table Tennis Youth Ranking, then levelled the score with his 17-15 victory in the second game. The 16-year-old Ecuadorian proved too strong for Closset as he won the next two games 11-5, 11-9 to lift his maiden WTT Youth Series title.

“I feel very happy as I managed to redeem myself after being eliminated by my friend Jeremy Cedeno in the Under-17 Boys’ Singles semi-final yesterday.

“It has not been easy playing in such high-altitude conditions, but I managed to adapt after some time, and I’m glad I won today,” said Piguave.

In the Under-15 Boys’ Singles Final, Puerto Rico’s Steve Moreno Rivera emerged top of the class by defeating fellow countryman Enrique Yezue Rios Torres in straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-7).

It was a marathon day for Moreno, who had to navigate his passage to the final, starting with his Round of 16 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-8) win over American Nathanael Hwang. A quarter-final clash followed with Venezuela’s Carlos Josue Alberto Rios Romero, which went the distance (8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4).

Moreno’s semi-final encounter with fellow Puerto Rican Yadier Lopez Velez also went down the wire in a five-game contest which he eventually prevailed 3-2 (12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 10-12, 12-10) to earn his well-deserved place in the final.

“I am very proud and happy with my performance this week. After this, I feel that I can win another WTT title in the future. I will continue working hard to achieve that,” said Moreno.

Colombia’s Emmanuel Otalvaro meanwhile emerged as the Under-11 Boys’ Singles champion, where he defeated American Kef Noorani 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-6) in the final.

“I feel very happy for all my performance during all these days in Ecuador. I’ll continue to train hard for my next competition in December. I would like to thank my family and coaches for helping me to grow and develop into a better player,” said Otalvaro.

WTT Youth Contender Cuenca is the first-ever WTT Youth Series event to be staged in Pan America. It provides aspiring youths with the opportunity to embark on their table tennis careers.

The Girls’ event will get underway on Friday, October 9, with the Under-13 and Under-17 competitions taking centre stage.

For more information on WTT Youth Contender Cuenca, click here.

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