(By Steve Hopkins)
Lima, Peru is host this week to the ITTF Pan American Championships. The two top seeds won their respective singles event. Brazil’s Hugo Calderano won Men’s Singles, and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz won Women’s Singles.
While the final result was somewhat expected, there were some surprises in both events. Canada’s Ivy Liao won three matches (including knocking out two seeded players) before falling to Diaz in the Quarterfinals. USA’s Sara Jalli had a series of upsets in her own Quarterfinal run – including a 4-2 win over Canada’s Mo Zhang and a 4-1 win over Lucia Cordero. Melanie, the younger Diaz sister, also made the Quarterfinals (losing to Bruna Takahashi of Brazil). Takahashi topped USA’s Lily Zhang 4-3 in their Semifinal match. Adriana needed all 7 games to beat Takahashi in the Final.
In Men’s Singles, Nikhil Kumar fell to Francisco Sanchi of Argentina in the Round of 32. Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador advanced all the way to the Quarterfinals (falling to Hugo Calderano 4-1). USA’s Yahao Zhang won his opening match, but then fell to Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy. USA’s Kai Zhang advanced to the Round of 16 before losing a tight 4-3 decision to Marcelo Aguirre. Angel Naranjo of Puerto Rico fell to Eric Jouti of Brazil in the Round of 32. USA’s Sharon Alguetti won his opening match but then fell to second seed Gustavo Tsuboi of Brazil. Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzales made it to the Quarterfinals before losing to Canada’s Eugene Wang. Speaking of Eugene Wang, his play was the biggest surprise of the event – as he managed three upset wins on his way to the Final. Even in the Final, Wang had a very respectable 4-2 loss to Calderano.
Argentina won Men’s Doubles with top seeded Horacio Cifuentes and Gaston Alto cruising through the draw easily. Women’s Doubles went to the Puerto Rican sisters Melanie and Adriana Diaz. The Mixed Doubles title went to Brazil with Bruna Takahashi and Vitor Ishiy starting as the top seed and winning their four matches.
The Team Events are set to start on Tuesday.
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