(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The 2019 ITTF Pan American Junior Championships are underway in Cancun, Mexico. The team events have concluded with the weekend reserved for the singles and doubles events. Both the US Boys Team and the US Girls Team won their event on Wednesday.
The US Boys entered as the top seed and won their opener easily – a 3-0 win over Costa Rica. Their semifinal match against Argentina was tight with Argentina’s top player Santiago Lorenzo logging two wins in a losing effort. In the end, the firepower of the US team was too much and each of the US players (Kumar, Alguetti, and Liu) won one match to seal the win 3-2. The final was US over Chile 3-0.
The US Girls lived up to their top seed by defeated both of their main draw opponents 3-0. Their win over Mexico was 3-0, 3-1, 3-1 with Crystal Wang, Amy Wang, and Rachel Sung each winning one match. The win over Canada in the final was by nearly identical scores logging 3-1, 3-1, and 3-0 wins by the same three players. The Canadian team of Ivy Liao, Joyce Xu, and Benita Zhou fell short in the final, but finished as runner up in the event.
The singles knock-out phase will begin Friday. The US has a strong advantage in the Girls’ seeding list as Amy Wang, Rachel Sung, and Crystal Wang are the top three seeds. If judged by the seeding, the American boys will have a more difficult draw as only Nikhil Kumar and Sharon Alguetti (and No. 3 and No. 4) are in the top 18 seeds. Puerto Rico’s Angel Naranjo is seeded 7, and Canada’s Edward Ly is seeded 6.
Check in with ButterflyOnline.com for updates throughout the event.