Gai Ready for Pan Am, Wins Mexican International

April 18, 2018, 4:30 p.m. (ET)

In her last tournament before the Individual Pan Am Championships, American Jennie Gai won the 2018 IV Yonex Mexican International U19 over the weekend defeating Peru’s Fernanda Saponara Rivva (World No. 26 in Junior Rankings) in two sets, 22-20, 21-6. The victory moves Gai to 2-0 all-time against the Peruvian after a win at the 2017 Jr. PAJC Team event.

Although she won, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the seventeen-year-old.

“It was a pretty good tournament, first game was kind of rough but then I adjusted,” Gai told USA Badminton on the tournament.

“The venue was very dim compared to other venues, so it took a while to adjust to that.”

Her opening round matchup against Jessica Bautista was a surprising difficult one. It was her only match of the tournament which went three games and the only match longer than 23 minutes (was 40 minutes). Gai won the first game 21-17 before losing the second 12-21. After the adjustment to the lighting, she won the third game 21-18.

Gai cruised for the rest of the tournament winning the next three matches in straight sets.

This is the second time in seven months Gai has won a tournament in Mexico. In September of 2017 she defeated Isabel Zhong in the finals of the VIII International Mexicano

Gai will compete in the Pan Am Individual Championships next week in Guatemala as the No. 12 seed in a strong WS group, which includes world No. 17 Michelle Li.

“It (Mexican International U19) helped raise my confidence a bit and hopefully I will be well prepared (for the Pan Am Championships)”