Improving Each Day, Pierre-Luc Theriault Causes Major First Stage Upset
2015 Pan American Games
Courtesy of ITTF
Playing better and better, on the fifth day of play, Thursday July 23rd, at the 2015 Pan American Games in Markham, Toronto, it was even better for the host nation’s Pierre-Luc Theriault, as the second series of matches in the qualification group stage of the Men’s Singles event commenced.
He was the player to cause the biggest upset. The no.17 seed, he accounted for Cuba’s Andy Pereira, the no.5 seed and the player who won the Men’s Singles title at the recent Caribbean Championships in Ville de Rivière Sallée, Martinique.
Impressively, Pierre-Luc Theriault succeeded in five games (11-6, 11-1, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6) on what proved to be a good morning for Canada.
Further Canadian Success
In addition Marko Medjugorac accounted for Ecuador’s Geovanny Coello, the no.19 seed (10-12, 11-8, 14-12, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8); whilst, as predicted, Eugene Wang, the no.2 seed, overcame the Dominican Republic’s Emil Santos, the no.20 seed (11-3, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3).
“It’s the first time I’ve played Andy”, said Pierre-Luc Theriault. “He tends to play away from the table so you have time to anticipate the direction of his play; he receives serve well but by serving to the forehand I was able to stop him make the banana return.”
The so-called “banana return” is the modern day return using the backhand with forearm vertical and the racket circumnavigating the ball.
“Every match for me is a challenge”, added Pierre-Luc Theriault. “I think the main reason I won was that I stayed cool and kept calm.”
Success for three Canadians as the second series of matches in the qualification group stage of the Men’s Singles event commenced; notably there were successes for three Brazilians.
Hugo Calderano, the no.3 seed, beat Chile’s Felipe Olivares, the no.16 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10), while Thiago Monteiro, the no.4 seed, accounted for Argentina’s Rodrigo Gilabert, the no.18 seed (13-15, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9).
Meanwhile, Gustavo Tsuboi, the top seed, faced a most testing adversary in the guise of 15 year old Kanak Jha, the no.19 seed, from the United States.
A most worthy opponent; after two opening close games Gustavo Tsuboi asserted his authority on proceedings to secure a straight games success (16-14, 11-9, 11-4, 11-3).
Difficult to Find Rhythm
“The first two games were close, I found it hard to get a good rhythm in the match, I had trouble with his service and I made a lot of mistakes; also he had some luck”, explained Gustavo Tsuboi. “In the third game I found a rhythm and managed to cope better with his somewhat unpredictable play.”
Once again Kanak Jha impressed and Gustavo Tsuboi was well aware that the American is a young man who possesses great potential.
“He is still young and has great potential”, said Gustavo Tsuboi. “He still has a lot to learn and I hope he does not improve too much as he will make our lives tough!”
A difficult hurdle negotiated by Gustavo Tsuboi, for the one further leading name on duty on the morning of the fifth day of action, there was also success against a player of stature.
Mexico’s Marcos Madrid, the no.6 seed, beat Guatemala’s José Miguel Ramirez, the no.15 seed; he won in four straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).
Qualification Groups: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles
Day Five: Play continued in the first stage of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events
Photos by Thorsten Gohl