Canadians in form, Jeremy Hazin and Alicia Cote cause early upsets

Defeat for Marko Medjogorac but there was plenty of reason for smiles on Canadian faces as the morning session of play in the group stage of proceedings came to a conclusion on Friday 1st February at the Universal 2019 Pan America Cup in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Jeremy Hazin followed by Alicia Cote both upset the order of merit.

 

Courtesy of ITTF
by Ian Marshall, Editor

Star of the show was Alicia Cote, the no.14 seed; she recovered from a two games to nil and three games to one deficit to beat the host nation’s Melanie Diaz, the no.8 seed (7-11, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7).

“At the beginning of the match I could not find the timing with my backhand; I needed to play fast from the backhand, change the direction of the play and create angles. Also, I made mistakes with my first attack after the service; I knew the tactics, I played against her last year at the Pan American Championships in Santiago. I won on that occasion but it was close, three-two in the team event.”  — Alicia Cote

A fighting performance from Alicia Cote, it was a command performance from Jeremy Hazin; the no.16 seed, he accounted for Chile’s Gustavo Gomez, the no.8 seed, in four straight games (11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).

“I think our games are very similar; neither of us is really powerful. I think we both have a good feeling for the ball; so I decided that I would try to play rallies rather than quick points. At the start of the match I was a little slow, I didn’t move that well and it was the first time I had ever played under the multi-ball system. I like it. It’s good for me I save energy, rather than picking the ball up I can wipe my hand on the table and focus for the next point.”  — Jeremy Hazin

Success for Jeremey Hazin, the win coming soon after colleague Marko Medjogorac, the no.13 seed, had experienced defeat at the hands of home favourite, Brian Afanador, the no.7 seed. The young man from Utuado, an hour’s distant from Guaynabo was in no mood for charity; he recorded a straight games win (11-3, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8).

“The spectators were always positive; I used it to motivate myself. Playing at home is something exceptional. The key was to stay calm; I did not want to force the play. There was no technical strategy; it was mental because everything I was doing was hurting him.”  — Brian Afanador

Disappointment for Chile in the defeat of Gustavo Gomez but there was success; in the women’s event the ever present Paulina Vega, the no.7 seed, overcame El Salvador’s Estefania Ramirios, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3).