Adriana Diaz Takes the Title and The Hearts of the Crowd
BY MATT HETHERINGTON
The stage was set for 16 year old Adriana Diaz to fight for her chance at the 2016 US Open Women’s Singles title. After overcoming a strong field of international opponents to make the final, hosted at The Foundry in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, it was Diaz, a national hero of Puerto Rico, her home nation, who stepped up to the plate and took home the crown. In a packed house of spectators, with even standing room expanding out towards the doors, the vibe was electric.
Fans of Japan’s Saki Tashiro and Diaz alike had converged on the nightclub venue to see a display of fierce and high speed competitive table tennis. After falling behind early on and suffering a 0-2 (11-5, 11-8) hill to climb it looked like Tashiro of Japan’s international experience and aggression would carry her through. However, true to her word, Diaz never laid down. One of her incredible qualities is the ability to go after any ball, whether it be a lob, a low fishing shot, a chop or a counter, she will find a way to work back into a point or to finish it off. With the atmosphere growing, Diaz rode the wave of a vocal crowd.
Across the audience supporters gave their energy and created a platform for their players to climb aboard. Extensive rallies were a factor which continued through the final but the young star Adriana Diaz had found her ground and dug her heels in. Inflicting the same scoreline back on her opponent (11-5, 11-8) to level the match at 2-2 the match intensity continued to climb much to the delight of the crowd. As the Facebook live stream broke 9,000 spectators and comments soared in supporting Adriana Diaz, she sped to a lead and looked to close out the match.
Taking a 3-2 lead the pressure was on Saki Tashiro of Japan to fight back to a 7th set. Rallies broke out with changes in pace, immaculate placement and stunning attacking prowess. The match and crowd came to a crescendo as it leveled at deuce.
Two points for Japan and the action would continue, two for Diaz and she would triumph. Under the pressure and with the finish line in sight it was the amazing 16 year old cementing herself in the history books as she stole away the hearts of the crowd and claimed the US Open Women’s Singles Championship Trophy by a margin of 4-2 (5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10). An enormous congratulations to Adriana Diaz for her outstanding result and to Saki Tashiro for providing an unbelievable finals session here at The Foundry this evening!
Check out Adriana’s pre-match message in Spanish to her fans at home in Puerto Rico and around the world! She thanks her supporters and promises to fight until the very end and never give up! Seems she held true to her promise!
Video from the Finals Stream