Pan Am Championships: TeamUSA has Gold in Women's Doubles, 5 Silvers, and 1 Bronze - Butterfly Table Tennis
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Pan Am Championships: TeamUSA has Gold in Women’s Doubles, 5 Silvers, and 1 Bronze

(by Steve Hopkins, photo USATT)

TeamUSA finished the 2022 ITTF Pan American Championships with solid results – leaving Santiago, Chile with seven medals.  Americans were not the top seeds in any of the events – those honors went to Team Brazil in Men’s and Women’s Teams, and to Brazil’s Hugo Calderano in Men’s Singles, and to Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz in Women’s Singles (and to Puerto Rico in Women’s Doubles, Argentina in Men’s Doubles, and Brazil in Mixed Doubles).

The Teams events played out first, and in both, TeamUSA pressed all the way to the Final before losing to the higher seeded Brazillians. Neither match-up was unexpected – and neither result was unexpected.  For the men, the highlight of the Final was the first singles match – an upset for TeamUSA with Kanak Jha defeating Hugo Calderano quickly – three close games that all went to Jha.  Kanak also won the third singles match – but TeamUSA lost in doubles and both of the other singles matches to fall 2-3.

Mirroring the men, Brazil entered as a slight favorite in the Women’s Team competition and TeamUSA was seeded second.  Both Brazil and the USA advanced easily to the Final.  When USA faced Puerto Rico in the Semifinal, Puerto Rico’s top player, World No. 12 Adriana Diaz, did not play –  and USA outmatched the Puerto Rican team for an easy 3-0 win.  The Final was tight with Rachel Sung and Amy Wang winning opening doubles.  Lily Zhang then fell 1-3 to Bruna Takahashi and Amy Wang fell to Carolina Kumahara.  Lily then tied the match score with a 3-1 win over Giulia Takahashi before Rachel Sung fell to Bruna Takahashi.  A 3-2 win for Brazil.  Gold for Brazil and Silver for TeamUSA.

TeamUSA scored its long Gold of the competition on Sunday when Amy Wang and Rachel Sung defeated Brazil in Women’s Doubles.  Wang and Sung overcame an Argentine pair 3-2 in their opening match and then topped Cuba 3-1 in the Semifinal before beacint Caroline Kumahara and Bruna Takahashi 3-2.  Amy Wang also had great success in Mixed Doubles – pairing with Nikhil Kumar to advance all the way to the Final.  They lost 3-1 to Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Vitor Ishiy.

The top seeds rolled through the later rounds in Singles.  In Men’s, it was Hugo Calderano as the top seed advancing to the Final and Kanak Jha as the second seed advancing to face him.  Despite Kanak’s early success in the Teams event, Hugo got his revenge with Brazil winning 4-0.  The top two seeds in Women’s Singles were Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and USA’s Lily Zhang.  Each navigated their way past 7-game Semifinals to reach the Final.  These two have faced each other many times – this time the honor went to Adriana Diaz – scoring a 4-1 win to take the Women’s title.

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