Despite all the difficulties (transportation, high temperature and humidity inside the venue, and Hurricane Fiona, see Larry Hodges’ earlier report), the U11 & U13 girls team cruised through the group stage during the first two days with so much passion and confidence, thanks to the help and support from the whole USA team, the onsite coach team (Qi Wei, Larry Hodges, Wu "Jennifer" Yue and Wang "Taylor" Xinyue), head coach Gao Jun, and all the accompanying parents.
Mini-Cadet Girls - Under U13
USA Team A (Aria Shi & Mandy Yu) is in Group 2 with two other teams: Peru A and Dominican Republic B. USA Team B (Amina Batkhuyag & Genelia William) is in Group 1 with two other teams: Venezuela A and Peru B. The two USA teams were expected to win their groups even though neither of them is the top seed. The two players in Team A, Aria and Mandy, played during last year’s Pan AM Mini-Cadet games when they were only 12 and won the silver medal, only losing to Yishiuan Lin & Amber Liu at that time. Amina and Genelia in Team B are ranked very similarly to Aria and Mandy, if not better.
As expected, all the games went quite smoothly, winning without much surprise. For many of the games, they kept opponents’ scores less than 5. For Team A, the only challenge they ran into was when they played doubles versus the DOM B team. The two players from DOM played much better together than their singles. They had one lefty and one with long pips at the backhand. The game went to deuce in the fifth. The DOM had one match point, 13:12. With some determination and concentration, Aria and Mandy won three points in a row and won the whole match. Picture below shows one of the last few points.
Aria and Mandy won three points in a row and won the whole match
Team B played at an extremely high level, without facing any real challenges. All games versus Peru B were 3:0, and the only 2 games lost were versus a relatively stronger Venezuela A (3:1, 3:1, 3:0). Both teams advanced first of their groups. The picture below shows Coach Wu Yue coaching Team B and Coach Wang Xinyue coaching Team A in doubles when they had matches next to each other.
Coach Wu Yue coaching Team B and Coach Wang Xinyue coaching Team A in doubles when they had matches next to each other.
On Tuesday (postponed from Monday due to Hurricane Fiona), the single elimination will start. Both teams have a bye in the round of 16, which is happening in the morning. Team A will face the winner of Canada A and Venezuela A. Canada A is a very strong team, blocking another favorite team, Puerto Rico A, from advancing from the group stage. It’s very likely that they will beat Venezuela A and play USA Team A. Team B will face the winner of Venezuela B and Guatemala. Guatemala is also very strong – winning all the group stage matches 3:0! We wish both teams good luck Tuesday night at 7:30PM!
Hopes Girls (Under 11)
Again, both teams dominated in their groups. Team A (Sophia Chen & Tiana Piyadasa) defeated Brazil, Ecuador B, and DOM A, all 3:0! Team B (Irene Yeoh & Abigail Yu) beat Peru B, Chile B, and Honduras, all 3-0, and didn’t lose a single game! The picture below shows Irene Yeoh & Abigail Yu in their doubles.
Irene Yeoh & Abigail Yu in their doubles.
The top 2 teams from each group, totally 8 teams, advanced to the knock-out stage. Team A will play Chile A while Team B will play Peru A, both in the quarter finals. We hope the two teams will continue dominating the court.
Overall, the girls breezed through all their matches with much confidence, just like at home, despite the venue being very hot and humid. The pictures below show how the girls were having fun sitting on a bus without seat, during the breaktime of matches inside the venue, and during the day at hotel right before Hurricane Fiona. We wish all of them good luck in the next stages of competition!