A title well deserved, although a little late, came for Amy Wang in Paraguay. The completion of the Pan American Junior Championships Girl's Singles took place.
The event had reached the semifinal stage in Mexico this year before an organizational issue took place, resulting in a long delay with no power in the venue. Eventually when power was restored and play could be resumed, it was already into the late hours of the evening and play was suspended after coach meetings with the organizers.
Through the efforts of former USATT High Performance Director Joerg Bitzigeio, some options were put on the table for the organizers, and eventually it was decided that the matches could be completed in Paraguay and also at the World Junior Championships later this year. For the US players this was a great opportunity to claim the titles and medals that they had worked so hard for in Mexico.
Crystal and Amy Wang were both in Paraguay, having just won team gold at the Pan American Championships. Now joined by teammate Rachel Sung, they would have their chance to take their Pan Am Junior Championships medals too.
Beginning where they left off in the semifinal stage, Amy Wang proved too strong for Crystal Wang, though not without challenge. The six game match eventually landed Amy Wang into the final.
It was a much closer affair on the other half of the draw, with Rachel Sung having to dig deep to pull out a win in the seventh game against Chile's Valentina Rios. While Sung had led 3-2, Rios showed her resolve and clung to the match. In the seventh game the pressure was high, but at 10-10 USA's Sung delivered.
In the final it was Amy Wang's moment to shine. Sung moved quickly to establish herself in the match, taking the first game. The left hander, who reached this year's US National Final at just 14 years of age, had a point to prove. The second game was a big turning point as the intensity turned up. Wang clutched the game 13-11, and her momentum only picked up from there.
She was the dominant player across the next three games and sealed out the match 4-1. A gold medal and a well-earned Pan Am Junior Girls title for Amy Wang.
Congratulations on our three players for their medals. We extend our appreciation to former USATT High Performance Director Joerg Bitzigeio for his assistance in helping make these arrangements after the difficult situation in Mexico, so that our players could take these opportunities, and also to Coach Gao Jun who stayed in Paraguay to support our players. We also thank Daniel Rutenberg for travelling back to the USA with our men's team, therefore enabling Coach Gao to remain with the girls.