Calderano and Díaz win big at the Pan American Championships
As the top seeds, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Díaz were the favourites to win the Pan American Championships. They lived up to the hype as they won their respective titles and they proved why they were the top stars before the event.
This was not even Díaz’s first medal at the event because she was also a part of the duo that claimed the woman’s doubles trophy on the same day. In other parts of the event, Vitor Ishiy and Bruna Takahashi bagged the mixed doubles title and lastly, Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes claimed the men’s doubles gold.
It was a stellar tournament that showcased the best of the best in the Pan American scene. The event proved that the scene is on the rise as they look to prove that they can keep up with the Eastern scene. Hugo worked hard to be named alongside those players since he’s a perennial contender for any title.
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This was another classic Hugo run
Hugo has been Brazil’s top table tennis star for a long time. He has been excellent over the years but this performance in the PAC proved that he belongs in the upper echelon of the table tennis world. Some people were doubting his place in the world’s top six before this event and he dominated en route to another gold.
While Eugene Wang put up a good fight in the final, Hugo was too strong for the Canadian. The final two games were Hugo’s best in the event as he did not let Wang get into a comfort zone. Before the final, Hugo played against Ishiy and the champ dominated the series with a 4-0 result.
Díaz continues to rack up medals
Before this 2021 win, Díaz already had a rich résumé in this event because she won gold medals back in 2017 and 2018. She beat Bruna in the final to prevent a Brazilian sweep in the singles division.
Bruna had a good road to the final as she beat Lily Zhang in the final. Her doubles win with her sister, Melanie, was also a big accolade because they upset other big teams like Chile’s Daniela Ortega and Paulina Vega.
Díaz is seen as the best player in the region but there were doubters. Now, Díaz has proven that she deserves the nod above everyone else because she’s on another level. Her aggressiveness is well-known but most people do not talk about how she controls the game and then surprises her opponents with power hits.
This event was an awesome experience for table tennis fans as they proved that the Americas should be known as a region booming with potential.
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Words: Cholo Martin