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Rising Stars Earn Stripes, United States Upset Seeding to Capture Team Titles
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Angela Guan exquisite in defence, the mainstay of United States success  Photo By: Thorsten Gohl

07/01/2016        2016 PANAM Junior Championships (Click here to access this section)

Defensive skills, subtle changes and seizing the opportunity when the chance arose, Angela Guan emerged as the heroine of the United States on the concluding day of play, Thursday 30th June, at the 2016 Panam Junior Championships in Burnaby, British Columbia.

She spearhead her outfit’s success as, against the odds, United States captured the Girls’ Team title and also the counterpart Junior Boys’ Team crown.

They started both events as the second seeds; in both finals they beat the top seeds, on each occasion in thrilling full distance five match duels.

Backbone of Win
Against Brazil, in the Girls’ Team final, Angela Guan the backbone of success.

In the second match of the engagement, she beat Bruna Takahashi (8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6), before in the vital fifth and deciding match of the encounter defeating Alexia Nakashima to seal the victory (11-2, 11-3, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7).

“It was amazing!” said Angela Guan. “We had a great team spirit and we all wanted to win for our team and our country.”

Further Win
The one further win for the United States was recorded by Crystal Wang.

In the fourth match of the fixture she overcame Bruna Takahashi (11-7, 13-11, 12-10), after Alexia Nakashima had given Brazil the ideal start by beating Crystal Wang (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7) and, in the third match of the contest, Leticia Nakada had accounted for Grace Yang (11-3, 11-5, 11-8).

Take Heart from Ding Ning
Two wins for Angela Guan but two defeats for Bruna Takahashi, who earlier in the tournament had finished in runners up spot in the Girls’ Singles event, was a crushing blow for the Brazilians.

She is a fine player, there will be better days and perhaps she can take consolation from China’s reigning World champion.

Ding Ning was a member of the outfit that lost to Singapore in the final of the Women’s event at the Liebherr 2010 World Team championships in Moscow; she lost to Feng Tianwei. One year later she won the Women’s Singles title at that GAC Group 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam.

Speaking to her after being anointed World champion, Ding Ning was very clear that without the Moscow defeat, she would never have won in Rotterdam. It is that response which makes a champion.

Horacio Cifuentes
Two wins for Angela Guan secured victory for the United States in the Girls’ Team final; two wins for Horacio Cifuentes was not sufficient to stave off defeat for Argentina in the counterpart Boys’ Team final.

He beat Sharon Alguetti in the second match of the contest (11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-6), before giving Argentina more than a ray of hope by recovering from a two games to nil deficit to beat Kanak Jha, the winner earlier in the week of the Boys’ Singles event, in a tense five games duel (10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9).

Scene Set
The win levelled matters after Kanak Jha had accounted for Martin Bentancor in the opening match of the encounter (4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3) and in the third engagement, Adar Alguetti had overcome Francisco Sanchi (14-12, 11-8, 11-9).

Matters level the scene was set; Sharon Alguetti duly delivered the goods; he beat Martin Bentancor in three straight games (11-6, 11-3, 11-6) to seal the victory.

The Deep Thinker
“The team prepared well”, said Massimo Costantini, the deep thinker; he is the Aristotle of the coaching world and had guided his American charges to victory.

“Sharon was ready to play and focused in the last match”, he added. “I am happy for them, Argentina put up a good fight.”

Well Earned
Success for the United States, as matters concluded the flag of the United States flew high, the rising stars had earned their stripes.

Day Six: Boys’ Team and Girls’ Team titles decided, places at World Junior Champions decided
Photos by Christian Martinez – RGB Studios



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