Paraguay Books Final Place; Table Tennis Trio Leads Medal Aspirations
2015 Pan American Games
Courtesy of ITTF
Complete outsiders, never having previously won a medal of any color in the table tennis events at the Pan American Games, Paraguay continued to upset the odds in the Men’s Team event in Toronto; the tenth seeds, on the early afternoon of Tuesday July 21st they beat Puerto Rico, the sixth seeds, by three matches to nil.
The result means that to date, they exceed the achievements of any other Paraguayan athletes in any discipline in the whole Games. Earlier in the proceedings, Diego Galeano and Veronica Cepede won the bronze in the Mixed Doubles tennis competition; Juliette Granada secured the same color medal on the golf course.
Facing the in-form Puerto Ricans, who likewise by reaching the penultimate of the both the Men’s Team and Women’s Team events had secured their first ever table tennis medals in the Games, it was Alejandro Toranzos who gave Paraguay an electric start.
He beat the Puerto Rican hero, Brian Afanador, in the opening match of the contest (11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9) to give his team a massive injection of self-belief.
“Before the match started I knew we had a medal, so I didn’t feel under any great pressure today”, said Alejandro Toranzos. “I was relaxed from the very start and I was able to put Brian under pressure.”
Success for Alejandro Toranzos vastly reduced the pressure on the shoulders of Marcelo Aguirre, who faced Daniel Gonzalez, a player against whom he had never suffered defeat in the past.
“Incredible, normally we lose the first match”, smiled Marcelo Aguirre. “I’m not saying I thought Alejandro would lose against Brian but he is Puerto Rico’s top player, Alejandro is our number two, so it was a real boost that he won.”
Quickly Marcelo Aguirre established his authority on proceedings; he beat the hard working Daniel Gonzalez in three straight games (11-7, 12-10, 13-11).
Doubles Concludes Matters
Paraguay now in the ascendancy, the Puerto Ricans fought but there was no stopping Axel Gavilan and Alejandro Toranzos; they beat Hector Berrios and Daniel Gonzalez in five games (11-7, 2-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Success against expectations for Paraguay; it was success as expected for Brazil, the top seeds, they beat Canada, the fourth seeds, by three matches to nil with Hugo Calderano fulfilling the same role as Alejandro Toranzos.
He beat the number one player from the opposing team; he accounted for Eugene Wang in five games (4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5), the player crucial to Canadian aspirations.
“Most definitely he is very tough opponent; he has a great deal of experience and he knows how to handle himself in difficult situations”, said Hugo Calderano. “He plays with good control his first attack is very safe; he is very secure.”
Brazil vs Paraguay in the Men’s Team Final
Eventually it was the power of the Brazilian that prevailed; a fact Eugene Wang acknowledged.
“No doubt, he is very powerful, especially from the backhand”, said Eugene Wang. “Also I had troubled when he returned my service; if I play him again I’ll have to try to make some changes.”
The modern day “banana” return of service with forearm vertical, maximum use of the wrist and racket circumnavigating the ball was the techniques that caused the Canadian problems.
Success for Hugo Calderano set Brazil on the victory path. Gustavo Tsuboi beat Pierre-Luc Theriault (5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5) before Thiago Monteiro and Gustavo Tsuboi concluded proceedings.
They overcame Marko Medjugorac and Pierre-Luc Theriault in three straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-7).
“Certainly Hugo gave us a great start but Gustavo was very good against Pierre-Luc; he his dangerous and this is the Games, players raise their levels”, said Jean-René Mounié, the Brazilian Men’s National Team coach. “It was a good performance from the whole team; mentally they were very good.”
Progress for Pierre-Luc Theriault
Delight for Jean-René Mounié; it was disappointment for Maxime Surpenant the Canadian Men’s Team coach who was realistic and saw progress.
“Pierre-Luc lost to Gustavo Tsuboi but Gustavo is a world class player”, said Maxime Suprenant. “Pierre-Luc is playing better and better as the tournament progresses.”
Defeat for Canada, success for Brazil; for the South American country it is the seventh time in a total of what is now nine editions that they have reached the Men’s Team final at a Pan American Games.
- Canada – 2 Bronze Medals (Men’s Team & Women’s Team Events)
- Puerto Rico – 2 Bronze Medals (Men’s Team & Women’s Team Events)
Teams Main Draw: Men’s, Women’s
Singles Qualification Groups: Men’s, Women’s
Detail results are available at Toronto2015.org
Day Three: Medalists known, color to be decided in Men’s Team and Women’s Team events
Photos by Thorsten Gohl