(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Selecting Amy Wang, Crystal Wang and Grace Yang; on Thursday 22nd June, the United States won the Girls’ Team title at the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
At the final hurdle they overcome Brazil by three matches to two; Bruna Takahashi being the player to cause the champions elect, problems.
She accounted for Amy Wang in the opening match of the engagement (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-2), the player against whom she had experienced defeat in the Girls’ Singles final at the immediate preceding Argentina Junior and Cadet Open, before in the fourth match, overcoming Crystal Yang (11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).
Alas for the Brazil, those were their only successes. Alexia Nakashima was beaten by Crystal Wang in the second match of the contest (10-12, 11-8, 11-2, 11-8) and by Amy Wang in the vital fifth duel (11-5, 11-4, 11-7). Crucially, in the third match, Grace Yang defeated Tamyres Fukase (11-3, 11-2, 11-7).
Defeat for Brazil but there was more than consolation; by reaching the final, like the United States, they had reserved their place in the Girls’ Team event for the forthcoming 2017 World Junior Championships to be held later in the year in Riva del Garda, Italy.
Four places available, the further two spots were clinched by Puerto Rico and Canada.
In the vital play-off contests Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic three-nil; Canada recorded a three-one win in opposition Peru.
A true team effort witnessed success for Puerto Rico. Adriana Diaz beat Cinthya Sanchez (10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4), Mileysha Sanchez accounted for Esmerlyn Castro (11-7, 11-5, 11-5), before Fabiola Diaz concluded matters by overcoming Rosa Torres (11-6, 8-11, 13-11, 11-4).
Now could that mean two teams from the same country in Riva del Garda? Congress must decide but in a recent referendum Puerto Rico voted to become the 51st state of the USA!
One win from each member of the team, it was the same for Canada against Peru. Alicia Cote lost to Andrea Guzman (11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7), before Ivy Liao signalled the revival.
She accounted for Kelly Santur (5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9); Justina Yeung followed suit by overcoming Isabel Duffoo (11-6, 11-9, 11-7), prior to Alicia Cote returning to the table to cement the recovery. She overcame Kelly Santur (11-7, 11-7, 11-4).
Team events concluded, attention now turns to the individual competitions. Play concludes on Sunday 25th June.
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