The local Cadet Boys pair of Aaron Wilson and Arun Roopnarine missed a chance of defending their team title at the Guatemala Junior & Cadet International Table-Tennis Federation Junior Circuit competition after going under 2-3 to USA “A” in their quarterfinal yesterday. Wilson got the fourth ranked T&T off to a good start, beating Theodore Tran 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8. However Aarsh Shah swept Roopnarine, 15-13, 12-10, 11-7 to even the match at 1-1. USA then went 2-1 ahead when Tran and Shah won the doubles, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6, but Roopnarine kept T&T alive via a 3-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 win over Tran to set up a fifth and deciding match in which Shah defeated Wilson, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4. On Thursday, the T&T boys advanced to the last-eight after topping their four-team round-robin group with a 3-0 record, blanking Guatemala “B” 3-0 and Puerto Rico “A” 3-0 followed by a 3-1 triumph against Sweden “A” 3-1. First up, Wilson beat Guatemala’s Diego Morales 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5, Roopnarine spanked Jefferson Chajchalac 11-2, 11-7, 11-6, and in the doubles, Wilson and Roopnarine prevailed 11-3, 11-7, 11-4. The second match against Sweden A was a much more keenly contested event with Roopnarine opening with a 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 win against Johan Hesselgren.
Wilson then lost a nail-biting clash against Elias Sibelius 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 10-12 and things looked bad in the doubles game when the local pair went 0-2 down before digging deep to win 10-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5. At 2-2 in the fourth game, Roopnarine unleashed a series of power drives mixed with heavy spin to beat Sibilius 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 13-11, 11-2 to secure the victory, 3-1. In its final group match versus Puerto Rico A, Roopnarine outplayed Andre Cullen 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5; Wilson whipped Sebastien Echevarria 11-5, 11-6, 11-1 and the pair of Roopnarine and Wilson then smashed Cullen and Echevarria 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 in the doubles to complete the 3-0 sweep and a perfect record of 3-0 in the four-team round-robin Group D series and set up a quarterfinal clash with Group C runner-up USA, which was beaten by India “B” 3-0 before beating Guatemala “A” and El Salvador/Cuba, 3-0 and 3-2 respectively. However, in the Cadet Girls Team event, the combination of T&T’s Brittany Joseph and USA’s Ishana Deb was third out of four-team after ending with a 1-2 record. The T&T/USA pair was beaten by Chinese Taipei and India “B” both by 3-0 margins before battling past Guatemala “A” 3-2. In its opener, Deb was beaten, 3-11, 5-11, 13-15 by Chia-Yun Kuo; Joseph went under to Hung Hung and in the doubles, the T&T/USA duo was humbled 3-11, 5-11, 8-11. Against India “B”, Deb and Joseph did not fear any better as the three matches all ended in straight sets losses.
First Sagarika Mukherjee defeated Deb 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 while her sister Ayhika Mukherjee whipped Joseph 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 before they combined for an 11-3, 11-6, 11-9 doubles win. But against Guatemala “A”, Deb and Joseph found their winning touch and despite squandering a 2-0 lead managed to hold on for a 3-2 triumph for third in the group. Joseph started with an 11-9, 13-11, 11-7 win over Mechael Norales while Deb battled past Caterine Agustin 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8 for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three match tie. Norales and Agustin starved off defeat with an 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 victory over Joseph and Deb in the doubles and then tied up the series at 2-2 when Augustin overwhelmed Joseph 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in the first reverse singles. Deb then earned a hard fought 11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 win against Norales to secure a 3-2 win for the T&T/USA pair. T&T’s Renuka Sitram also participated in the Junior Girls Team competition with Guatemala’s Andrea Montufar, but the duo ended with a 0-2 record after losses to Sweden and Venezuela, by 0-3 and 1-3 margins respectively. In its clash with Sweden, Sitram was beaten by Linda Bergstrom 8-11, 6-11, 9-11; Montufar went under Maria Engelson 13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 4-11 and in the doubles, the T&T/Guatemala pair was stopped 4-11, 6-11, 7-11. Montufar had a much better start against Venezuela beating Winberly Montero 11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-8 but that was the lone bright spark as Sitram was beaten 6-11, 7-11, 6-11 by Gremlis Arvelo before the Venezuelans 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 in the doubles and then Arvelo completed the series beating Montufar 12-10, 17-15, 11-9 in the reverse singles. The doubles event which was expected to start last night ends today ahead of the singles competition where Sitram will play among the juniors while the trio of Joseph, Roopnarine and Wilson compete in both junior and cadets age-groups. The trio of Joseph, Roopnarine and Wilson will then move onto El Salvador for the next leg of the competition while 14-year-old duo Joseph and Wilson will journey onto Dominican Republic to join up with the senior players for the 11-team Senior Caribbean Championships.