Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes secured a place in the quarter-finals of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Pan America Cup in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Cifuentes was the fifth seed in the men’s singles draw, making him the focus of attention today, with the top four players having received byes into the quarter-finals.
The Argentinian would face the challenge of Guatemala’s Hector Gatica in the first men’s group.
The outcome of the match would decide which player reached the last eight, with Dominican Republic’s Samuel Galvez absent.
Cifuentes would claim a straightforward 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 victory to advance to the next round.
Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador emerged as the winner of group two, following a 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 19-17, 11-9 win over his American opponent Yijun Feng.
He then beat Mexico’s Marcos Madrid 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 17-15.
Chile’s Gustavo Gomez emerged as the winner of group three, following victories over Canada’s Marko Medjegorac and Paraguay’s Axel Gavilan.
Ecuador’s Alberto Mino topped group four, following triumphs over Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Canada’s Edward Ly.
The group winners now enter the quarter-final stage, where they will meet top seed Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi of Brazil, along with United States’ Kanak Jha and Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre.
Mexico’s Yadira Silva topped group one in the women’s event, as she overcame Paraguay’s home favourite Lucero Ovelar 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8, before beating Chile’s Daniela Ortega 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9.
Camilla Arguelles clinched two victories to win group two and reach the quarter-final stage.
She followed up an 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 win over Colombia’s Paula Medina by edging a tightly fought match against El Salvador’s Estefania Ramirios 11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9.
Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara topped group three by winning her head-to-head clash with Argentina’s Ana Codina.
Both players had won their opening match to stand a chance of progression, but Kumahara would seal the spot by overcoming Codina 12-10, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.
The final quarter-final place was claimed by the United States’ Xinye Wang, who topped the group four standings.
She battled to an 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8 win over Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz, before beating Canada’s Alicia Cote 11-4, 15-13, 11-5, 11-7.
The qualifiers join top seed Zhang Mo of Canada, United States’ Wu Yue, Chile’s Paulina Vega and Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi in contesting the knock-out stage.
Competition will continue until Sunday (June 17).
Two places will be reserved for players at the men’s and women’s ITTF World Cup competitions in October.
One place is reserved for a player from Latin America in both competitions, with the other going to a North American.