For a while, it looked like defending Pan America Cup champs Hugo Calderano of Brazil and Mo Zhang of Canada were going to repeat in the 2019 edition, being played in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Calderano did his part, overwhelming 18-year-old American, Kanak Jha, four sets to one to retain his title. But Zhang had a stiffer challenge.
Second-seeded Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico had the home crowd behind her and the two battled in a critical first set, won by Diaz, 13-11. That set the tone, and Diaz went on to win the second set, 11-8 for a commanding 2-0 lead.
Zhang fought back with an 11-6 win in set three, but Diaz closed out the win with 11-9 and 11-9 victories that sent the home fans into a frenzy.
The U.S. also scored a medal in the women’s event, with Yue Wu taking the bronze medal. Summaries:
Pan American Cup
Guaynabo (PUR) ~ 1-3 February 2019
(Full results here)
Men: 1. Hugo Calderano (BRA); 2. Kanak Jha (USA); 3. Gustavo Tsuboi (BRA); 4. Marcelo Aguirre (PAR). Semis: Calderano d. Aguirre, 4-2; Jha d. Tsuboi, 4-2. Third: Tsuboi d. Aguirre, 4-1. Final: Calderano d. Jha, 4-1.
Women: 1. Adriana Diaz (PUR); 2. Mo Zhang (CAN); 3. Yue Wu (USA); 4. Bruna Takahashi (BRA). Semis: Diaz d. Wu, 4-3; Zhang d. Takahashi, 4-0. Third: Wu d. Takahashi, 4-2. Final: Diaz d. Zhang, 4-1.