16 Nov 2021

Safe and secure, Canada’s Eugene Wang and Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara emerged the unexpected names to reach the semi-final stage of the men’s singles and women’s singles events at the 2021 ITTF Pan American Championships in Lima on Sunday 14th November.

However, when considering their pedigree, neither name could be considered a surprise to appear amongst the last four.

by Ian Marshall

Both have enjoyed success at open international tournaments, Eugene Wang won the men’s singles event at the United States Open in 2012, 2013 and 2018; Caroline Kumahara the women’s singles title in 2017 in Chile.

In the men’s singles quarter-finals, Eugene Wang, the no.17 seed, beat Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez, the no.10 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-3); at the same stage of the women’s singles, Caroline Kumahara, the no.11 seed, ended the hopes of Sarah Jalli of the United States, the no.32 seed (11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Notably, 15 year old Sarah Jalli was a player in form; the previous day she had ousted Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.3 seed (11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8).

Caroline Kumahara who beat Sarah Jalli (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Penultimate round

Eugene Wang now meets Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed, in the opposite half of the draw Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the top seed, confronts colleague Vitor Ishiy, the no.3 seed.

Meanwhile, in the women’s singles semi-finals, Caroline Kumahara faces Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the top seed; Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.2 seed, meets Bruna Takahashi, the no.4 seed and like Caroline Kumahara from Brazil.

Marcelo Aguirre faces Eugene Wang in the semi-finals (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Leading pairs progress

Prominent names very much in evidence; it is the same in the men’s doubles; the leading pairs all advancing to the penultimate round.

Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes, the top seeds, meet Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez, the no.3 seeds; Vitor Ishiy and Brazilian colleague Eric Jouti, the no.2 seeds, oppose Chile’s Gustavo Gomez and Juan Lamadrid, the no.4 seeds.

Horacio Cifuentes and Gaston Alto through to the men’s doubles semi-finals (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Different scenario

Progress as anticipated, in the women’s doubles, slightly different; Sarah Jalli and Tiffany Ke, the lowest rated pairing, alongside Guatemala’s Lucia Cordero and Hidalynn Zapata, the no.5 seeds, caused quarter-final upsets.

Sarah Jalli and Tiffany Ke beat Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Jessica Yamada, the no.4 seeds (11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8); Lucia Cordero and Hidalynn Zapata ousted Argentina’s Camila Arguelles and Ana Codina, the no.3 seeds (11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5).

Lucia Cordero and Hidalynn Zapata now meet Chile’s Daniela Ortega and Paulina Vega, the no.2 seed; Sarah Jalli and Tiffany Ke opposes Adriana Diaz and Melanie Diaz the top seeds.

Sarah Jalli and Tiffany Ke, surprise women’s doubles semi-finalists (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Finalists Decided

Semi-finalists known; in the mixed doubles the finalists have been decided. Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy and Bruna Takahashi, the top seeds, meet Horacio Cifuentes and Camila Arguelles, the no.3 seeds.

Notably, Horacio Cifuentes and Camila Arguelles recorded a semi-final success against Eric Jouti and Caroline Kumahara, the no.9 seeds (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10), the quarter-final winners in opposition to Brian Afanador and Adriana Diaz, the no.2 seeds (3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8).

Play in the individual events concludes on Monday 15th November.

A place in the final for Bruna Takahashi and Vitor Ishiy (Photo: Sebastian Regaira)


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