Photo: Rosa SanchezWomen Singles medallists Emmy Kaiser, Mackenzie Soldan and Angelica Bernal
Mackenzie Soldan succeeded her compatriot Kaitlyn Verfuerth as the Parapanam Games women’s singles champion on Thursday after coming from a set down for the third time in four matches in Guadalajara, Mexico to defeat fellow American Emmy Kaiser.
On a day when USA won both gold medals on offer, Soldan won just the third game in the opening set, but went a break up at 4-2 in the second set before maintaining cushion to force a deciding set.
Soldan’s momentum gave her a 4-1 lead in the final set and, although third seed Kaiser broke back to trail narrowly at 5-4, Soldan held on to wrap up a 16 64 64 victory and not only win the gold medal, but also ensure qualification for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Colombia’s Angelica Bernal clinched the bronze medal after edging a close first set against fourth seed Francisca Mardones of Chile and going on to win the play-off 64 62.
Claudia Taboada and Esperanza Belmont gave the home fans something to cheer on the penultimate day of wheelchair tennis competition as they contested the women’s consolation singles final, with Taboada recording a 62 76(5) win.
Meanwhile Kaiser and Soldan will be on the same side of the net on Friday when they attempt to steer USA to another gold medal in the women’s doubles final. Bernal and Johana Martinez will be their opponents in the final.
Rydberg and Welch win men’s doubles gold medal
Jon Rydberg saw his Parapanam Games men’s singles title defence end in the quarterfinals against Argentinean top seed Gustavo Fernandez earlier in the week, while fellow American Stephen Welch saw his singles challenge end in the semifinals against Augustin Ledesma.
However, Rydberg and Welch gained compensation for those losses in the men’s doubles final as they defeated the young Argentinean duo 62 63 to give USA its second wheelchair tennis gold medal of the day.
The American second seeds built on 4-0 first set lead and gained another decisive break to go 4-2 up in the second set en route to beating the top seeds.
Brazil won the men’s doubles bronze medal after Mauricio Pomme and Carlos Santos came back from losing the opening two games of the play-off against Colombia’s Eliecer Oquendo and Mauricio Vega to snatch the lead three times en route to taking the opening set.
Pomme and Santos subsequently dropped just the fifth game in the second set to earn their place on the medal podium 75 61.
While Fernandez and Ledesma will be on opposite sides of the net in Friday’s men’s singles gold medal match, guaranteeing Argentina a gold medal , Peru’s Augusto Alvarez and Ecuador’s Efrain Cabrera have reached the men’s consolation singles final after straight sets victories in Thursday’s semifinals.