Hugo Calderano and Adriana Diaz crowned Pan American champions
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Hugo Calderano and Adriana Diaz crowned Pan American champions

Hugo Calderano and Adriana Diaz crowned Pan American champions

(By by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Hugo Calderano and Adriana Diaz crowned Pan American champions
Success for Brazil one of the biggest land masses in the continent, success for Puerto Rico, one of the smallest; on Sunday 17th September, Hugo Calderano and Adriana Diaz won the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles titles at the inaugural 2017 ITTF Pan American Championships in Cartagena de Indias.

At the final hurdle, Hugo Calderano, the top seed, beat colleague Thiago Monteiro, the no.2 seed, in four straight games (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7) to arrest the Men’s Singles title; somewhat differently Adriana Diaz, the no.2 seed needed the full seven games to overcome Wu Yue of the United States, the no.3 seed (8-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7).
Both wins mark the progress that each player has made since the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games staged in July of that year.

On that occasion, Hugo Calderano won the Men’s Singles title but in the main draw he never won one match in straight games; time and again he was tested, to his great credit time and again he prevailed.

Now two years later, en route to gold, he surrendered just one individual game; that being at the quarter-final stage when facing Cuba’s Jorge Campos, the no.11 seed (11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-3).

Frankly with the greatest of respect to all competing in Cartagena de Indias, he was a step ahead of the field; in a class of his own.

Progress most certainly but the progress made by Adriana Diaz is arguably even greater when compared with the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. On Saturday 25th July of that year she was beaten by Wu Yue, the champion elect, at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event; she was beaten comfortably losing in five games (14-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5), the consistency of the American was just too great.

Now, the fact that she emerged successful by whatever margin is a considerable achievement, even though she was the higher seeded player in Cartagena de Indias, the win may be considered somewhat contrary to expectations.

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