01 Dec 2021

Play progressing to the quarter-final stage of the doubles events at the Cali 2021 Pan American Junior Games in southwest Colombia, on the opening day of play, Tuesday 30th November, there were no shortages of upsets.

The biggest names to fall were those of Mexico’s Dario Arce and Juan Jesus Gomez, the men’s doubles top seeds.

by Ian Marshall

Very much the Mexicans have been one of the pairs to attract the attention in recent months.

They won the under 19 boys’ doubles title in April at the Central American Youth Championships in Guatemala City, then in September in Santo Domingo repeated the success at the Pan American Youth Championships.

Moreover, in November they emerged successful at the Ecuador International Open in Cuenca, securing the men’s doubles title.

In Cali, it was an opening round defeat at the hands of Cuba’s Eddy Gomez and René Mendez (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5).

Only Puerto Ricans progress

A surprise defeat for the Mexicans; in fact, of the top four listed partnerships, only Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo and Derek Valentin advanced to the quarter-finals.

Brazil’s Diogo Silva and Rafael Turrini recorded an opening round win against Peru’s Felipe Duffoo and Rodrigo Hidalgo, the no.2 seeds (12-10, 11-6, 11-9); the Dominican Republic’s Pedro Cabrera and Abit Tejada received a walk-over when scheduled to face Argentina’s Martin Bentancor and Derek Valentin, the no.4 seeds.

Derek Valentin and Angel Naranjo, the only top four pair to reach the men’s doubles last eight ((Photo: Gabriel Aponte / Panam Sports via Xpress Media)


Opening round upsets

Likewise, there were upsets as matters commenced in women’s doubles event.

Guatemala’s Lucia Cordero and Hidalynn Zapata, the top seeds, received a direct entry to the quarter-finals; Mexico’s Clio Barcenas and Arantxa Cossio, the no.2 seeds, duly progressed but for the next in line it was a first round exit.

Colombia’s Manuela Echeverry and Juliana Lozada, the no.3 seeds, lost to Venezuela’s Cristina Gomez and Camila Obando in a quite dramatic five games contest (11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-13, 15-13).

Similarly, for Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes and Mylena Plaza, the no.4 seeds, it was farewell at the first hurdle; they experienced defeat when facing Chile’s Macareno Montecino and Valentina Rios (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6).

An opening round exit for Nathaly Paredes and Mylena Plaza (Photo: Gabriel Aponte / Panam Sports via Xpress Media)
Mixed fortunes

Disappointment for Nataly Paredes, it was the same in the opening round of the mixed doubles; partnering colleague Diego Piguave, the no.2 seeds, they suffered when opposing Brazil’s Rafael Torino and Giulia Takahashi (11-4, 12-10, 11-3).

Otherwise for the most prominent partnerships it was progress to last eight.

Dario Arce and Clio Barcenas, the top seeds, flew the flag for Mexico as did Angel Naranjo and Fabiola Diaz, the no.3 seeds, on behalf of Puerto Rico. Likewise, Guatemala’s Kevin Ruano and Lucia Cordero, the no.4 seeds, kept medal hopes alive.

Opening hurdle negotiated

Meanwhile, as play commenced in the men’s singles and women’s singles events, the leading names all successfully negotiated the opening hurdle.

Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, Argentina’s Santiago Lorenzo, Chile’s Nicolas Burgos and Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo all reserved second round men’s singles places, as in the women’s singles event did Mexico’s Clio Barcenas, Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes, Chile’s Valentina Rios and the Dominican Republic’s Esmerlyn Castro.

The second round of both the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be played on Wednesday 1st December; the day on which the finalists in the men’s doubles and women’s doubles will be known. as will be the names of the mixed doubles winners.




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