16 Dec 2016

Great Britain was the country that had the greatest cause to celebrate as play in the Men’s Singles events at the 2016 United States Para Open Championships in Las Vegas came to a close on Thursday 15th December.

Neither player on duty at the recent Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, against expectations Tom Matthews won Class 1, Martin Perry captured the Class 6 title.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The no.2 seed, Tom Matthews accounted for Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamente at the semi-final stage (12-10, 8-11, 15-13, 11-8), before recovering from a two games to nil deficit to beat Korea’s Nam Kiwon, the top seed, to secure the title (10-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).

Gold against the odds for Tom Matthews, arguably the success recorded by Martin Perry was an even bigger surprise. The victor in the group stage one day earlier over Israel’s Danny Bobrov, the top seed (11-5, 11-5, 16-14); the 23 year old maintained his fine form to beat Chile’s Matias Lorca in the penultimate round (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7), before overcoming the host nation’s Ian Seidenfeld in the final (3-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4).

Defeat for Ian Seidenfeld but it was a quite outstanding performance; only 16 years old, the lowest rated player in his group, he had finished in top place prior to ousting Danny Bobrov in the semi-finals (9-11, 14-12, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6).

“This is my first time in the US and I am amazed by Las Vegas. It is the perfect place for visitors and one of my absolutely favourite places I have ever been. I really like that Para US Open and US Opens are happening at the same time because I had the opportunity to watch some matches of world level able body players. It was interesting how players from US Open came to watch Para players and they seemed to enjoy it”, Matias Pino

Two surprise Men’s Singles winners and there were two more. Sweden’s Linus Karlsson, the no.2 seed, won Class 8, beating Italy’s Samuel de Chiara, the no.6 seed in the final (11-6, 11-9, 11-4). An impressive win, Samuel de Chiara was player in form; at the semi-final stage he had accounted for Linus Karlsson’s colleague, Emil Andersson, the top seed (7-11, 16-14, 11-8, 11-6).

Likewise, in Class 11, it was success against the odds for Hong Kong’s Leung Chung Yan; the no.3 seed, in a group organised event, he finished ahead of colleagues Wan Wai Lok, the top seed and Tsoi Ming Fei, the no.2 seed. Canada’s Mikhail Drozdowski concluded matters in fourth position.

Surprise gold medallists, according to the starting list in two further categories there were unexpected winners but the outcome was no surprise.

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Gow-Ching, the no.2 seed won Class 4, taking full advantage of the withdrawal from proceedings of Ukraine’s Vitaliy Popok, the top seed. At the final hurdle Lin Gow-Ching accounted for Korea’s Lee Kyeonghun (11-2, 11-8, 11-8) to secure the top prize.

Meanwhile, in Class 10, an event with no World ranked player on duty, the host nation’s Jerry Vasquez finished in first place in a group organised event ahead of Puerto Rico’s Kevin Rivera. Nevielle Brabrook, also from the United States concluded matters in third position with fourth spot finishing in the possession of Poland’s Michal Reterski.

Names not necessarily to be anticipated; in the remaining Men’s Singles events, the winners were to be anticipated. The top seeds prevailed.

Korea’s Kim Mingyu won Class 2; Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger secured the Class 3 title, whilst colleague Valentin Baus emerged successful in Class 5. Similarly, Frenchman Stéphane Messi clinched the Class 7 title, whilst the Class 9 gold medal finished in the hands of the host nation’s Tal Leibovitz.

Proceedings conclude on Friday 16th December with the finals of the team events.

2016 United States Para Open: Draw and Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Martin Perry Tom Matthews