The Pan-American games have just wrapped up, after an eventful week in Guadalajara, Mexico. The tournament is highly regarded as the most important tournament for Pan-American players.
The Men’s singles was all about who could get the closest to beating Guatemalan sensation Kevin Cordon. The twenty-four year old Guatemalan rose to fame this year after beating China’s Chen Long and making the quarter-finals of the 2011 BWF World Championships. He went the entire tournament without losing a set, although many came close. The bottom half of the draw was a little more exciting with unseeded players Charles Pyne (Jamaica) and Osleni Guerrero (Cuba) seeming to come out of nowhere to take control of the entire bottom half. Guerrero lead the way by defeating Canada’s top singles player Stephan Wojcikiewicz in three games, 10-21, 22-20, and 21-18. Pyne exploded into the quarter-finals after a close game with second seed Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo of Peru. The match went the full length with Pyne wrapping up the third game soundly, 21-10. Pyne and Guerrero met in the semi-final, where both were strongly seeking a spot in the final. The match lasted 38 minutes, with the Cuban player coming out on top, 21-18, 18-21, and 21-18. However Guerrero’s luck fell short against Cordon in the final. The Cuban came close to drawing a third but Cordon edged him out in two sets, 23-21, and 21-19.
Canada’s Michelle Li took a page from Kevin Cordon’s book this tournament, winning the tournament without losing a set. In fact, no player scored over 16 points in any game against her. She dominated the top half of the draw, winning her semi-final over Victoria Montero of Mexico, 21-10, and 21-7. Once again, the bottom half of the draw was much more interesting. Second seed Rena Wang of USA, had a surprising upset in the form of Peru’s Claudia Rivero, with the Peruvian taking out the America in the quarter-final, 21-15, and 21-19. But Rivero would not progress any further as third seeded Canadian talent, Joycelyn Ko overwhelmed Rivero in three sets, 21-9, 17-21, and 21-10. The final was all Canadian, with Ko and Li even being from the same province of Ontario. Michelle Li retained her sharp form, taking the Pan Am title, 21-13, and 21-12 in only twenty minutes.
Tony Gunawan formerly of Indonesia, has obtained American citizenship and is now flying the flag for USA men’s doubles, with partner, Howard Bach. Gunawan, who is widely regarded as the greatest front court player of all time, showed complete and utter dominance over his half of the draw, advancing to the final after only three short matches. They defeated the Mexican pairing of Lopez Andres and Lino Munoz, 21-12, and 21-12 in their semi-final. Canada’s second seeded pair of Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng seemed to have their half under control until the semi-finals. Halim Haryanto Ho and Sattwat Pongnairat of USA burst into the final after defeating the top Canadian pair 22-20, and 21-14. The final would be an all American brawl, with Gunawan and Bach displaying their 2005 World Champion form, winning 21-10 and 21-14 in 15 solid minutes.
The women’s doubles would be another battle for supremacy between USA and Canada. Top seeded sisters of Rena and Iris Wang made their way into the semi-finals with two solid wins. They then faced the dynamics of Canadians Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. The Canadian pair put up a tremendous fight but ultimately fell short in the end, with the Wang sisters winning themselves a spot in the final, 21-10, 10-21, and 21-12. The bottom half also had an American and Canadian semi-final. Third seeded Americans, Eva Lee and Paula Lynn Obanana led the way into the semi-final, beating both a Brazilian and Peruvian pairing on the way. But second seeds Alex Bruce and Michelle Li would not be far behind, making their way into the semi-final after impressive wins against Mexico and Dominican Republic. The Canadians and Americans clashed in their semi-final; however the Canadian pairing of Bruce and Li displayed a higher level of badminton in the tight third set. The final was another brawl between Canada and USA, with Bruce and Li facing off against the Wang sisters. Michelle Li walked away with her second title of the tournament, when partner Alex Bruce and her defeated the USA pair in two sets, 21-15, and 21-15. The match only lasted a total of twenty minutes.
The mixed doubles was another Canada vs. USA showdown. The top half of the draw featured top seeds Toby Ng and Grace Gao of Canada, facing off against Howard Bach and Paula Lynn Obanana of USA, in a tough three set final. The Americans fought hard, but Ng and Gao had more control in the third game, winning 21-11, 19-21, and 21-14. In the bottom half of the draw, Americans Halim Haryanto Ho and Eva Lee had an easier time finding their way into the final, winning their semi-final against the Peruvian team of Rodrigo Pacheco Carrillo and Claudia Rivero, 21-13 and 21-19. The mixed doubles final was the longest final of the tournament. Ng and Gao had met Halim and Eva in a few other tournaments this year and it seemed to be a pretty evenly set final. The match went to a third game and lasted thirty-two minutes in total. The Canadian pairing came out on top in the end, finishing off the American pair, 21-13, 9-21, and 21-17. This was Canada’s third title, meaning Canadians had won three out of the total five events, while Guatemala and USA only won one title each.
There were not very many surprises on the first day of the 26th Brazil International Cup. Guatemala’s top singles player Kevin Cordon made it through his match without too many problems, winning over USA’s Sattawat Pongnairat 21-11, and 21-11. Ivan Sozonov, Guatemala International Men’s singles and Men’s doubles champion had quite a scare against Czech player Petr Koukal. The match went three games with Sozonov taking the final game 21-18.
Canada’s Olympic hopeful Stephan Wojcikiewicz overtook Brazilian star Daniel Paiola, 21-9, 21-15. And in the women’s singles, first seeded Susan Egelstaff had a frightening first round when Portugal’s Telma Santos forced a third game. The final scores were 21-23, 21-16, and 21-9 with Egelstaff taking the match and moving on to the next round. Michelle Li is looking at attempting to win her second tournament of the season with a first round win over Japan’s Ayumi Mine, 21-7, 21-18.
In the Men’s doubles, the top pairings from Canada, Austrailia, USA, and Brazil all made it past the first hurdle of this tournament. The women’s doubles provided even fewer surprises with the expected teams advancing onto the next round.
A big win in the mixed doubles for Peru’s young team of Mario Cuba and Lorena Duany came early on in the first round. They defeated Brazilian doubles sensation Hugo Arthuso, who paired up with Marina Eliezer in three games, 18-21, 21-13, and 21-10.
The twenty sixth Brasil International Cup is underway today, with some great players from Pan America as well as the world in attendance. Guatemala’s breakout star Kevin Cordon will be attempting to redeem himself after losing to Russia’s Vladmir Ivanoz in the semi-final of his home tournament, Guatemala International. Ivanoz is one of the three Russians in attendance of Brasil International, and they are no doubt the ones to beat in this tournament as Ivanoz and his partner Ivan Sozonov teamed up to win the Men’s doubles title in Guatemala, as well as facing off against each other in the Men’s singles final.
Meanwhile the women’s singles may be very unpredictable. Michelle Li of Canada is definitely the favourite after edging out Scotland’s top seeded Susan Egelstaff in the semi-final and Switzerland’s Jeanine Cicognini in the final to win the title last week in Guatemala.
The home country of Brazil definitely has the strongest numbers in this tourney. No surprise there. However a Brazilian duo to watch would definitely be 4th seeded Hugo Arthuso and Daniel Paiola. They reached the semi-final of Guatemala and now are prepared to go for their home title. They lost to Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng, Canada’s top doubles pair who fell to the Russian team of Ivanoz and Sozonoz in the final.
Matches to watch out for in the women’s doubles will mostly occur in the later rounds. A possible quarter final in the very bottom of the draw could have USA’s top team of Rena and Iris Wang clashing with one of Canada’s top teams Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. Gao will also be teaming up with usual partner Toby Ng, to take the top seeded position in the mixed doubles.
So far we are looking forward to a great tournament. A great concentration of North and South America’s finest as well as few top players from abroad.
While Canadian pair Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu may have dreamed of upsetting former World Champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach it wasn’t to be. The top seeded pair were at their best when their steamrolled the young pair 21-10, 21-9 to win the mens doubles title. An important learning experience for the Canadian pair who we expect to see big things from moving forward.
Things would turn out better for the older of the Ng brothers when Toby Ng and Grace Gao won the mixed doubles by defeating Americans Halim Ho and Eva Lee 21-11, 14-21, 21-15. This is an important win for the Canadian pair as we head towards the Olympic qualification run.
The womens doubles would be yet another great win for the Canadians as Michelle Li and Alex Bruce continued their fantastic run by defeating Americans Iris Wang and Rena Wang in three games 11-21, 21-15, 21-8. This is yet another important match heading into the Olympic qualification period as these two pairs will no doubt be among the few teams fighting for a top spot in the Pan American qualification.
Rena Wang may have been disappointed with her loss in the doubles, however her singles victory would make up for that as she defeated top seed Nicole Grether 21-19, 20-22, 17-9. It has not yet been reported what caused Grether to retire in the 3rd game.
Finally the only event not to feature either a Canadian or American player was the mens singles. This would go to Pan America’s top player and Olympic qualification favourite Kevin Cordon who defeated Austria’s Michael Lahnsteiner in three games 23-21, 6-21, 21-12.
Full Finals Day Results
Today wrapped up the semi-finals of the Peru International Badminton Championships and as we head into the finals the events are dominated by the Americans and Canadians with the exception of the mens singles event.
The top seeded Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner had a tough but not overly close semi-final match against hometown favourite Rodrigo Pacheco. Lahnsteiner won in two straight games 21-16, 21-15, and now he faces off against Guatemala and Pan America’s top player Kevin Cordon who defeated Iztok Utrosa in two straight games 21-13, 21-14.
The women’s singles held some surprises and disappointment for Canada’s Michelle Li. Li, the second seed, was upset by American Rena Wang 21-18, 21-12. Wang will have to defeat yet another Canadian if she’s to win the title as she now plays Nicole Grether who recently began playing under the Canadian flag after years of representing Germany.. Grether earned her finals place by defeating Cee Ketpura 16-21, 22-20, 21-12.
Grether may have had fortune on her side in the singles, however it didn’t favour her in the doubles as she and her partner Charmaine Reid were upset by their Canadian compatriots Michelle Li and Alex Bruce in three very close games 12-21, 21-18, 21-19. Li will have an opportunity to avenge her singles loss against Rena Wang as her and Iris Wang defeated Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko in two games 21-18, 21-13.
The mens and mixed doubles events both feature Canada’s Ng brothers who have shown some strong performances domestically and internationally this year. First up in the mixed doubles Toby Ng is paired with Grace Gao and with a semi-final win over his brother Derrick and his partner Phyllis Chan he has found a place in the finals against Americans Halim Ho and Eva Lee who defeated Joycelyn Ko and Adrian Liu in three games.
Finally in the mens doubles we have what could be one of the more exciting finals to watch. Former world champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach are set to play the Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu in the finals. The Americans had to defeat French pair Laurent Constantin and Sebastian Vincent and did so with gusto by winning in two decisive games 21-9, 21-13. The Canadian pair also win with little struggle over their opponents Sameera Gunatileka and Vincent Nguy 21-15, 21-12. The Canadian pair are the obvious underdogs, but have shown some high level ability in the last year so it would be unsafe to discount them.
Full Saturday Match Results
The women’s singles final was an unexpected win for American Cee Nantana Ketpura, as she was pitted against Canada’s top women’s singles player Michelle Li. The unseeded Ketpura had fought her way to the final and would not stop there beating Li in a lengthy three game match 17-21, 21-17 and 21-19.
Next up was Canadian Stephan Wojcikiewicz who was relieved after a great performance against Peru’s Rodrigo Pacheco Sunday Morning. Wojcikiewicz won the men’s singles event defeating Pacheco in a tough three game match 15-21, 21-17 and 21-13. This is the second Pan Am title for the Canadian.
Women’s doubles would be the last final of the morning. Again an all Canadian final, Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko up against Alex Bruce and Michelle Li both unseeded teams. The previous matches Bruce and Li knocked out first seeds Aicardi and Rivero as Gao and Ko did the same to second seeds Wang and Wang. Both teams have played incredibly well, still only one can win. After the three game battle Gao and Ko came out on top winning 16-21, 23-21 and 21-12. This is the second gold medal Gao has collected having earlier won the mixed doubles.
Last but not least wass men’s doubles. The American team Sameera Gunatileka and Vincent Nguy ran into second seeds Hugo Arthuso and Daniel Paiola from Brazil. At the end of the day the Americans can wave their flag after winning the men’s doubles. It was very close three game match Gunatileka and Nguy winning the first 21-19. Arthuso and Paiola coming back in the second 21-19. Again Gunatileka and Nguy winning the third 21-17, finishing the match and bringing the United States their second gold medal.
After success in the team event, and some hard fought battles throughout the individual event Canada is positioned to possibly win 4 of 5 titles.
The first final will guarantee a Canadian title with Toby Ng and Grace Gao set to face off against their compatriots Alex Bruce and Kevin Li. Ng and Gao had a tough fight in their semi-final match against another Canadian pair, Adrian Liu and Joycelyn Ko, but pulled through 19-21, 21-13, 21-18. Li and Bruce had a somewhat easier semi-final against Americans Sattawat Pongnairat Cee Nantana Ketpura winning 21-11, 21-16.
Next up is the womens singles final between Canadian Michelle Li and American Cee Nantana Ketpura. Ketpura is unseeded and booked her place in the final after a thrilling 21-19, 22-20 win over Li’s compatriot Phyllis Chan. Li’s semi-final win was much less climactic with a 21-12, 21-14 scoreline over second seeded American Rena Wang.
With a couple of final appearances and a gold medal on his resume, Canadian Stephan Wojcikiewicz will be looking to add one more to his gold medal tally today, but will have to defeat Peruvian Rodrigo Pacheco. Wojcikiewiz had to play Sattawat Pongnairat once again after splitting matches against the American in the team event. This time Wojcikiewicz won when it mattered most with a 15-21, 21-16, 21-19 scoreline. Pacheco had a decidedly easier time against American Nicholas Jinadasa winning in two straight games 21-10, 21-19.
In the womens doubles final we have another guaranteed Canadian gold with Alex Bruce and Michelle Li set to play Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. Both pairs had tough matches to make the finals, Bruce and Li defeated the top seeded Christina Aicardi and Claudia Rivero 23-21, 18-21, 21-12, and Ko and Gao defeated Iris and Rena Wang 15-21, 23-21, 21-15.
Finally the last final of the day, the only one not featuring a Canadian player, is the mens doubles final. Americans Sameera Gunatileka and Vincent Nguy are set to play Hugo Arthuso and Daniel Paiola of Brazil. Nguy and Gunatileka knocked out top seeds Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu 22-20, 21-19 while the Brazilian pair defeated Bruno Monteverde and Rodrigo Pacheco 25-23, 21-19.
Pan Am Championships 2010 Full Results
Later on in the day the United States had a definitive win over Chile 5-0. Meanwhile in the B pool Mexico defeated Brazil 4-1, losing only the men’s doubles game to Hugo Lemos Arthuso and Danial Paiola. The final matches Tuesday went to Peru and Canada, Canada beating Chile 5-0 and Peru beating Brazil 4-1. The Brazilian men’s doubles team Andres Lopez and Lino Munoz spoiled Peru’s chances of a shut out, by defeating the Peruvians Martin Del Valle and Mario Cuba 21-18 and 21-18.
Day 2 wrapped up the 2010 Pan Am Championships Team Event. Canada faced-off against Mexico, Canada winning 3-0. Wojcikiewicz defeated Munoz 21-13 and 21-13, then Canadian women’s singles player Michelle Li won two straight games against Mariana Ugalde 21-18 and 21-14. Men’s doubles went to Liu and Ng on the account Lopez and Castillo were unable to compete. On court two Peru went up against the United States, with Peru losing 3-1. Peru took one win in men’s singles with Pacheco defeating Pongnairat in in two 21-11 and 21-12. Women’s singles went to the American player Ketpura winning 21-17 and 21-11 over Aicardi. Men’s doubles Nguy and Gunatileka beat Cuba and Monteverde 21-13 and 21-18, setting the United States up for win. Completing the victory for the American team was the women’s doubles team Wang and Wang defeating Aicardi and Rivero in three games 21-12, 23-25 and 21-7.
The bronze medal match Peru against Mexico, Peru takes the win 3-1. Rodrigo Pacheco Defeats Mexican Lino Munoz in three 21-17, 17-21 and 21-18. Next Peruvian Claudia Rivero makes quick work of Aileen Chinas 21-6 and 21-14. Mexico’s Munoz and Lopez over came men’s doubles team Cuba and Monteverde in a close three game match 15-21, 23-21 and 21-18. Women’s doubles team Aicardi and Zornoza finished off Mexico by defeating Gonzalez and Montero 22-20 and 21-18 winning them the bronze.
Canada and the United States battled it out again for the gold medal match. Ng and Gao taking the first win defeating the American team Jinadasa and Wang in two games 21-17 and 21-12. The United States responded in the men’s singles with Pongnairat beating Wojcikiewicz in three games 18-21, 21-13 and 21-18. Canada came back strong with women’s singles player Michelle Li defeating Nantan Cee Ketpura in two 21-15 and 21-17. Finalizing the win for Canada in men’s doubles team Liu and Ng won in two against Nguy and Gunatileka 21-18 and 21-14. This is Canada’s 3rd consecutive win in the team event at these games.
Badminton Life would like to welcome our newest contributor to the website, Charles Neufeldt. Charles is a Canadian badminton player and coach based in Saskatoon.
Top contenders back this year are Canadian men’s singles players Stephan Wojcikiewicz, David Snider and Alex Pang. Also back 2nd seed from Brazil Daniel Paiola, along with Charles Pyne and Gareth Henry from Jamaica. This should make for strong competition. Missing from the men’s singles draw this year is last years winner Kevin Cordon, as well as the rest of the Guatemalan team members. Joseph Rogers last years semi finalist is also missing from the draw. From the looks of the draw it looks like Paiola will have his work cut out for him to make it to the final, he will have Pang or Snider to go through first before he gets his chance at gold.
Following suit with the men’s singles, the women’s singles draw also lost last years winner Anna Rice as she has retired officially after her performance at the Commonwealth Games. Even with the loss of Rice, Canada looks favourable to come out on top with the addition of Charmaine Reid 1st seed and Michelle Li ¾ seed. I am predicting early problems for Karyn Cecilia Velez as her possible 2nd round match up is Joycelyn Ko, last year women’s singles runner up.
Men’s Doubles are not showing much representation from last years top teams. Missing teams are Guatemalan winners Kevin Cordon and Rodalfo Ramirez, as well as runners up Martin Del Valle and Antonio De Vinatea from Peru. Also not attending are the American and Peruvian semi finalists. This year teams to watch out for are the 1st seeds Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu from Canada along with Brazilians Hugo Arthuso and Daniel Paiola seeded 2nd. Other Teams looking Strong are Gareth Henry and Charles Pyne from Jamaica and Peruvian team Bruno Monteverde and Rodrigo Pacheco.
Canadians Valerie St. Jacques and Milaine Cloutier are missing this year after placing first in women’s doubles last years Championships. Strong returning teams this year are Peruvian team Christina Aicardi and Claudia Rivero seeded 1st along with 2nd seeds Iris Wang and Rena Wang of the United States. Other title contenders are Canadians Alex Bruce and Michelle Li with fellow teammates Grace Gao and Joycelyn Ko. All of these teams will have to work hard to make it through the semi finials.
Returning mixed doubles champions Toby Ng and Grace Gao are accompanied by their fellow Canadian’s teammates Alex Pang, Michelle Li, Kevin Li, Alex Bruce, Adrian Liu and Joycelyn Ko. Pang and Ko were last years runners up, they are back with new partners Pang playing with Li and Ko playing with Liu. I would expect to see an all Canadian mixed final. The 2nd seeds Bruno Monteverde and Claudia Zornoza have a tough 1st round match against Pang and Li. The Brazilians could be something to watch out for. Brazil has the most team entered in this category, they stand total five teams strong.
After a long week and some hard fought battles Lithuanian Kestutsis Navickas is the champion of the Atwater International 2010. In spite of the relatively straight forward scores he had throughout the tournament Navickas fought very hard powering his way through his matches by virtue of his gritty play, fighting harder than all of his opponents. His final match against France’s Brice Leverdez was his most challenging of the week, and the only match to go three games with Navickas winning 21-16, 18-21, 21-14.
Canada’s Wunderkind Michelle Li seemed poised for her first international title, but it wasn’t to be as her second Japanese opponent was able to just sneak past her in the end. Oka Hitomi would be the second consecutive Japanese shuttler to dash Li’s hopes in a thrilling three game win 15-21, 21-12, 23-21.
Dutchmen Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder were dominant all week in Montreal, and the finals were no different. They made their way to the finals without dropping a game, and American pair Halim Haryanto and Phillip Chew would be no different losing 21-13, 21-10. The women’s doubles was unfortunately a default victory for Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether as Huang Ruilin and Lim Yee Theng were unable to play.
Perhaps the most impressive match of the day was the sibling rivalry in the mixed doubles between Derrick and Toby Ng. The two brothers faced off for family pride, but it was Toby and his partner Grace Gao taking the title in a nailbiter over Derrick and Jiang Xuelian 21-18, 20-22, 26-24. No doubt the Ng household has much to be proud of these past few weeks with Derrick’s recent victory in Peru with doubles partner Adrian Liu.