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Leading Players Maintain Unbeaten Records, Positive Responses in Times of Crisis

Leading Players Maintain Unbeaten Records, Positive Responses in Times of Crisis
2015 Pan American Games
Courtesy of ITTF

Success came the way of Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Canada’s Anqi Luo, in addition to the Colombian duo of Paula Medina and Lady Ruano, on the morning of Thursday July 23rd in the first stage of the Women’s Singles event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Markham, Toronto.

They were the highest rated players in their respective groups and by emerging victorious completed their second series of matches with unblemished records; just as the previous evening had the other leading players.

However, maintaining the unbeaten records was not without its trials and tribulations.

More Exacting
Anqi Luo, the no.8 seed, overcame Venezuela’s Gremlis Arvelo, the no.12 seed, in four straight games (11-9, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3) to cause local supporters moments of delight.

However, for Adriana Diaz, Paula Medina and Lady Ruano life was much more exacting.

All were tested with Adriana Diaz, the no.7 seed having the recover from a 2-5 deficit in the decider to secure victory against the athletic Cuban, Lisi Castillo, the no.14 seed (8-11, 11-6, 14-12, 8-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8).

Previous Contest
“I played her in the team event at the Central American and Caribbean Games last year and I won three-nil”, said Adriana Diaz.

Perhaps that was the major problem in Toronto; every match is new match, every player is player and at such prestigious events as the Pan American Games, players raise their level.

History counts for naught; at the crucial stage Adriana Diaz was able to press the accelerator and change gear but she made me nervous!

More Aggressive
“Today I started slowly and she was more aggressive than when we played last time”, added Adriana Diaz. “When we changed ends in the seventh game I focused on serving short and making sure that I played towards her backhand.”

A close call for Adriana Diaz, it was the same for Lady Ruano, the no.10 seed, she needed the full seven games to overcome Uruguay’s Maria Pia Lorenzotti, the no.15 seed (13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8); whilst Paula Medina, the no.9 seed, was extended to six games by Argentina’s Ana Codina, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).

Angie Umbacia
Most creditable performances from Lady Ruano and Paula Medina but it was another Colombian who caught the eye.

Playing in the same group as Adriana Diaz and having upset the seeding by beating Lisi Castillo one day earlier (4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9); 17 year old Angie Umbacia maintained her perfect record by causing yet another upset.

Occupying the no.32 seeded position in the draw, she accounted for Argentina’s Agustina Iwasa, the no.29 seed (7-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-2); a result which means that Adriana Diaz and Angie Umbacia are assured of the places in the main draw.

Players finishing in first and second places in each of the ten group advance to the second phase.

Satisfied Coach
Three Colombians unbeaten, Jhon Cruz, the National Coach, could be satisfied with the efforts of his players.

“Angie adapted well, she was nervous at the start of her match today but she responded; her service to Agustina’s forehand was a key factor”, said Jhon Cruz. “Paula and Lady both had hard match, both won the first two games but then had problems, I didn’t really enjoy those two matches!”

Stayed Calm
Nevertheless, the two Colombians succeeded, the subtle changes of top spin being key for Paula Medina, for Lady Ruano, her blocking skills over the table and above all her calm nature when crisis loomed.

Qualification Groups: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles

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