16 Nov 2021

Top seeds, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the 2021 ITTF Pan American Championships in Lima on Monday 15th November.

Gold for Adriana Diaz, it was her second of the day; earlier she had partnered sister Melanie to claim the women’s doubles top prize. Two titles for Puerto Rico, it was the same for Brazil, Vitor Ishiy and Bruna Takahashi emerged the mixed doubles champions; Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes claimed the top step of the men’s doubles podium.

by Ian Marshall

Impressively, at the semi-final stage, Hugo Calderano beat colleague and defending champion Vitor Ishiy, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8), prior to overcoming Canada’s Eugene Wang, the no.17 seed, to secure the top prize (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8).

Consistent as ever, in the adjacent half of the draw, Eugene Wang had ousted Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8) to reserve his place at the top table.

Success for Hugo Calderano meant that he secured the men’s singles title for a second time; previously he had been victorious at the inaugural event in 2017 in Cartagena de Indias.

Hugo Calderano, once again the men’s singles winner (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Third win gained

Twice the winner, Adriana Diaz went one better, she made the collection three in number; in addition to Cartagena de Indias, she had succeeded the following year in Santiago.

In Lima, she arrested the women’s singles at the final expense of Bruna Takahashi, the no.4 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).

Notably, the Brazilian being a player in form. One round earlier she had ended the progress of Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.2 seed and defending champion (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 2-11, 11-9).

Focused, in the opposite half of the draw, at the semi-final stage, Adriana Diaz had beaten Caroline Kumahara, the no.11 seed and like Bruna Takahashi from Brazil (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 13-11).

Disappointment for Lily Zhang, the defending champion (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Hard earned

A hard earned success for Adriana Diaz in the women’s singles final, with Melanie Diaz it was the same in the women’s doubles at both the semi and final stages.

Five games was the order of the day for the Puerto Rican top seeded pair at the semi-final stage against the United States combination of Sarah Jalli and Tiffany Ke, the no.11 seeds (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7).

Likewise, to secure the title it was a full distance contest against Chile’s Daniela Ortega and Paulina Vega, the no.2 seeds (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8), the penultimate round winners in opposition to Guatemala’s Lucia Cordero and Hidalynn Zapata, the no.5 seeds (6-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5).

Melanie and Adriana Diaz en route to the women’s doubles title (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Argentine gold

The top step of the podium for Puerto Rico, in the men’s doubles it was the third step.

Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez, the no.3 seeds, experienced a semi-final defeat at the hands of the champions elect, Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes, the top seeds (11-7, 11-8, 11-8).

Maintaining form, the Argentine duo accounted for Chile’s Gustavo Gomez and Juan Lamadrid, the no.4 seeds (11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 11-6) to claim the title. One round earlier Gustavo Gomez and Juan Lamadrid having caused somewhat of an upset by overcoming Vitor Ishiy and Brazilian colleague Eric Jouti, the no.2 seeds (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8).

Determination, Horacio Cifuentes and Gaston Alto in harmony (Photo: Santiago Regaria)


First final

First place for Horacio Cifuentes; in the mixed doubles partnering compatriot, Camila Arguelles, the first final to be decided, the duo had been required to settle for runners up spot.

The no.3 seeds, they were beaten by Vitor Ishiy and Bruna Takahashi, named at the top of the order (11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7).

Bruna Takahashi and Vitor Ishiy, the mixed doubles winner (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


Common factor

Play in the individual events concluded and one common factor, in every event the top seeds prevailed.

Attention now turns to the team competition; the top six in each of the men’s and women’s events, qualify for the 2022 World Team Championships in Chengdu.

Applause from the dignitaries at the medal ceremonies (Photo: Santiago Regaira)


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