One Final Hurdle for US Junior Teams to Pan Am Junior Title Retention

By Matt Hetherington | June 26, 2019, 12:05 a.m. (ET)

Sharon Alguetti Pan American Junior Championships Table Tennis Cancun Mexico

The US Junior Boys and Girls Table Tennis teams have moved just one step away from repeating their success of 2018. Tomorrow the girls team of Amy Wang, Crystal Wang, Rachel Sung and Rachel Yang will contest the Junior Girls Team Finals, while the boys side of Sharon Alguetti, Nikhil Kumar, Victor Liu and Michael Tran will go for gold in the Junior Boys Team Final.

In 2018 the US team were successful in grabbing all but one gold medal on offer at the Pan American Junior Championships. Winning the team events would be an ideal start to the competition for both sides and a big confidence boost heading into the individual events. 

The boys team swept the group stages, recording 3-0 wins against both Puerto Rico and Guatemala. The girls side also managed to win all of their matches against Puerto Rico and Chile on their way to the main draw. 

Crystal Wang had the battle of the day in the group stages as she trailed 2-0 to Chile's Valentina Rios before collecting herself to convert the next three games by 5, 6 and 4 margins. The win helped keep the US team on track and the pressure at bay.

As the top seeds, the two group stage wins launched them straight into the semifinal stage where they made short work of the home side from Mexico. 

In tomorrow's final they will face neighbors Canada for the gold. The Canadian side had faced a strong challenge from Chile in the semifinal, where they were able to win in the fifth and final match of the tie. USA's dominant performance against Chile in comparison will hopefully have them feeling confident for tomorrow's showdown.

The boys, also top seeds, started their campaign in the quarterfinal stage with a 3-0 win against Costa Rica. 

The semifinal match was quite unusual in that all of the matches were 3-0, but the team score could not have been closer. 

Argentina's Santiago Lorenzo recorded two 3-0 victories against both Nikhil Kumar in the opening match and Sharon Alguetti in the fourth match. Big efforts from Alguetti and Victor Liu in the 2nd and 3rd matches of the tie handed the USA two 3-0 wins and 2 points. The match went to the decider.

The pressure fell upon Nikhil Kumar to finish the job and he delivered with a straight games win to close out the tie. 

Tomorrow the boys team will face a strong side from Chile in the final as they put their best foot forward for the top spot on the podium.

We wish both of our teams the absolute best of luck and know you will give it everything out there. 

You can find the tournament results here.