World number six and two-time Pan American Games champion Hugo Calderano has advanced into the semi-finals of the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation Pan America Cup in Puerto Rico.
The 22-year-old Brazilian, the strong favourite for the title at the Coliseo Mario Quijote Morales in Guaynabo, eased through the quarter-finals with a straight games 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 win over home favourite Brian Afanador.
He is now scheduled to play Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, who beat Nikhil Kumar from the United States 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8.
"I was down 5-7 in the first game and came back to win," Calderano said.
"It was difficult but of course your first game in a tournament is never easy.
"Brian is strong, he’s good in the rallies and he serves well; once I became used to his play I felt comfortable and was able to control the match.
"It is not easy to play when the crowd is not on your side, but for me it was a great privilege to play in front of such a big crowd, really very good."
Brazil also have a player in the other semi-final as Gustavo Tsuboi beat Canada’s Jeremy Hazin by four games to one on the other side of the draw.
He is now set to face Kanak Jha from the US, who saw off Colombia’s Alberto Mino 4-3 in the day’s tightest contest.
Puerto Rico did have something to cheer as in the women’s draw, the number two seed Adriana Diaz advanced into the semi finals with an 11-9, 11-8, 11-2, 12-10 win over Canada’s 14th seed Alicia Cote.
Diaz is now due to play the third seed Yue Wu from the US, who whitewashed Brazil’s Lin Gui in straight games in her quarter-final.
The other semi-final will see Canada’s Mo Zhang play Bruna Takahashi from Brazil.
They advanced with wins over Lily Zhang from the US and Yadira Silva from Mexico respectively by scores of 4-3 and 4-2.