10 Days of Adriana Diaz: (Diez Dias de Diaz)
(by Steve Hopkins)
(Photos: Courtesy of ITTF & Bowmar Sports)
Last weekend, Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz won the Women’s Singles title at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games that was held in Barranquilla, Colombia. A week earlier, she claimed the Girls’ Singles Title at the Pan American Junior Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Between the two tournaments, that is 10 days of just about flawless table tennis for Puerto Rico’s best female table tennis player -dominating two premier events in such a short period of time.
In Women’s Singles in Barranquilla, Diaz had an easy opening match, defeating Arvelo of Venezuela 4-0. There was nothing easy about any of her remaining matches. She faced Cuba’s Lisi Castillo in the quarterfinals and needed all seven games to advance (4-3: 7, -7, -8, 7, 9, -9, 7). She then faced the 2017 champion in Mexico’s Yadira Silva and not only needed all seven games, also needed a final game 14-12 marathon to close out the match (4-3: 10, -9, 8, -9, -4, 5, 12). Diaz then defeated second seeded Paula Medina of host Colombia in the final 4-2 to claim the title.
Adriana anchored the Puerto Rican Women’s team which defeated Cuba 3-0 and Venezuela 3-1 to capture gold. Adriana then teamed with Brian Afanador to win Mixed Doubles, defeating Colombia’s Villegas and Medina 3-2. And to top off the perfect weekend, Adriana also won Women’s Doubles, pairing with Melanie Diaz to defeat a Colombian team of Medina and Zuluaga in the final 3-2.
Puerto Rico ended the event as the biggest winner, taking a medal in every event. Eight medals in all including four gold medals, two silver medals, and two bronze medals. Adriana Diaz participated in four events and brought home gold in all four.
Diaz’s highlight of the previous week at the Pan Am Juniors was the Girls’ Singles event where she upset Amy Wang of the USA in the final. Along the way, Diaz also defeated Americans Crystal Wang and Rachel Sung as well as Mexico’s Leyla Gomez and Dahyana Rojas of the Dominican Republic.
Diaz did not accumulate as many gold medals at the Pan Am Juniors, but that does not mean she did not play as well. Her doubles effort fell short, but the only loss in Girls’ Doubles was in the semifinal to eventual champion Sung/Yang of Team USA. And in the Girls Team Event, Team Puerto Rico fell to Canada in the semifinals, but the effort of Diaz throughout the event was stellar. In fact, Adriana won all of her matches 3-0, including logging two wins in the 3-2 semifinal loss to Team Canada.
Over those ten days, Diaz played some of the best female players in this hemisphere and she did not lose a single singles match. In the end, Diaz accumulated four gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games and accumulated one gold and two bronze medals at the Pan American Juniors. That totals seven medals in ten days. Ten days of Adriana Diaz.