TSUBOI & ZHANG Qualifies for ITTF World CupsPhoto: ITTF
Brazil's Gustavo Tsuboi & USA's Lily Zhang claim Gold at first ever ITTF-Pan American Cup to qualify for ITTF World Cups later this year.
Brazil's Gustavo TSUBOI & USA's Lily ZHANG have claimed the titles at the inaugural ITTF-Pan American Cup that concluded yesterday 30 July, in San Jose, Costa Rica, to qualify for the prestigious Men's & Women's World Cup later in the year.
After the table tennis craze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last year, Brazil continues to prove itself as a table tennis powerhouse in the Americas, booking both places in the Men's Singles final. Facing the challenge of 23-year-old colleague Eric JOUTI (BRA), the experienced TSUBOI stood victorious to win 4-2 (11-5, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5).
Guaranteed his third World Cup appearance, the 32-year-old shared "This is a really good start to the new season for me, after having a holiday break. I'm going to play for Rzezcow in Poland and of course it's really good in my preparation for the World Cup."
Lily ZHANG was in dominant form in the Women's Singles final against ZHANG Mo (CAN), her long-term rival in North America, who had ended her dream of direct qualification for the Women's World Cup in 2015 & 2016 at the ITTF-North American Cup.
Lily ZHANG took revenge for her previous two defeats to win a four straight game (11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7) to take the title and her golden ticket to the Uncle Pop Women's World Cup in October.
"Mentally I was really well prepared today, in my mind I could imagine myself winning. I felt confident in the rallies," stated the elated 21-year-old who will making her first World Cup appearance as a qualifier. ZHANG had played her first World Cup last year in Philadelphia, USA, where she made her appearance as the host nation representative.
Hybrid of the ITTF-North American Cup and the ITTF-Latin American Cup, the ITTF-Pan American Cup is in its first edition in San Jose, Costa Rica, and will see one male & one female player representing North America and Latin America each at the World Cups to be held later in the year:
- Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men's World Cup – 20-22 Oct 2017, Liege (BEL)
- Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women's World Cup – 27-29 Oct 2017, Markham (CAN)
With the Men's Champion from Latin America & the Women's Champion coming from North America, the best performing male & female player from North America & Latin America respectively will qualify for the World Cups as well. This means USA's Kanak JHA and Chile's Paulina VEGA will be making their way to Liege & Markham alongside TSUBOI and ZHANG.
The ITTF World Cups are the second most prestigious events on the international table tennis calendar, with only 20 of the top table tennis players qualifying through their respective Continental Cups together with the current World Champions, one host player and a wildcard.
- World Champions: MA Long (CHN), DING Ning (CHN)
- 2017 ITTF-African Cup: Quadri ARUNA (NGR), Dina MESHREF (EGY)
- 2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), Alexander SHIBAEV (RUS), Simon GAUZY (FRA), LI Jie (NED), Petrissa SOLJA (GER), Sabine WINTER (GER)
- 2017 ITTF-Oceania Cup: David POWELL (AUS), LAY Jian Fang (AUS)
- 2017 ITTF-Pan American Cup: Gustavo TSUBOI (BRA), Kanak JHA (USA), Lily ZHANG (USA), Paulina VEGA (CHI)