14 Nov 2021

Places at stake in the quarter-final stage of the women’s singles event at the 2021 ITTF Pan American Championships in the Peruvian capital city of Lima; Sarah Jalli of the United States emerged the most surprise name to reserve a place in the last eight.

Only 15 years old she caused not only the biggest upset of the day but one of the biggest since operation restart!

by Ian Marshall

After accounting for Peru’s Mariagrazia La Torre (4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8), the no.32 seed, she recovered from a two games to one deficit to beat Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.3 seed (11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8), one of the most experienced players on view in the Peruvian capital city.

Now 32 years old, notably Zhang Mo has been present at every Olympic Games since Beijing in 2008; in addition to a host of notable achievements, she won the women’s singles title at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, before being the runner up at the inaugural Pan American Championships in 2018 in Santiago.

A place in third round reserved, Sarah Jalli maintained her form; she accounted for Argentina’s Lucia Cordero, the no.16 seed (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11) to reach the round of the last eight.

Zhang Mo beaten by Sarah Jalli (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Liking for Pan America events

Meanwhile, Sarah Jalli appears to a have liking for continental events.

Earlier this year in September, competing in the under 15 age group, she won the girls’ singles title at the ITTF Pan American Youth Championships Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, having earlier been a member of the successful girls’ team and with Sally Moyland, the girls’ doubles winner.

A surprise quarter-final place for Sarah Jalli, it was the same for Canada’s Ivy Liao and Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara.

Ivy Liao, exceeding expectations (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Contrasting progress

Ivy Liao, the no.27 seed, accounted for Costa Rica’s Nicole Granados, the no.36 seed (11-6, 11-1, 11-8, 11-6) and Argentina’s Candela Molero, the no.15 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6) prior to ousting Chile’s Daniela Ortega, the no.8 seed (15-13, 12-10, 11-6, 11-1).

Rather less exacting, a direct entry to round two, Caroline Kumahara, the no.11 seed, gained a walk-over when due to face Guyana’s Jody-Anne Blake, before recording success in opposition to Argentina’s Camilla Arguelles, the no.7 seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-1, 11-6).

Listed amongst the top eight names, Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Melanie Diaz duly progressed as did Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, Chile’s Paulina Vega and Lily Zhang of the United States.

Paulina Vega, flying the flag for Chile (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Upset ranked order

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, the players to cause the major upsets en route to reserving quarter-final places were Canada’s Eugene Wang and Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez.

The no.17 seed, a position that belies his status, memorably the winner of the men’s singles title at the 2013 United States Open; Eugene Wang, after overcoming Chile’s Juan Lamadrid, the no.11 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-2, 12-10), beat Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4) to reserve his quarter-final place.

Similarly, Daniel Gonzalez, the no.10 seed, accounted Puerto Rico’s Rodrigo Tapia, the no.24 seed (15-13, 15-13, 11-8, 11-9), prior to ending the hopes of Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).

Daniel Gonzalez caused an upset of note by beating Horacio Cifuentes (Photo: Santiago Regaira)



Meanwhile, for the remaining most prominent names, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, Vitor Ishiy and Eric Jouti all made quarter-final reservations, a situation that applied also to Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre.

Play in the men’s doubles and women’s doubles has yet to commence; on the opening day the leading pairs were not required to compete in the mixed doubles.

Eric Jouti, a quarter-final men’s singles place reserved (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


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