by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, at the final hurdle Daniel Gustafsson beat a player of note; he overcame the host nation’s Mohammed Amine Kalem, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games bronze medallist, to arrest the title (3-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8).
Success against expectations, it was the same for Ukraine’s Oleksandr Yezyk, Germany Thomas Brüchle and Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak.
All commenced proceedings as second seeds; Oleksandr Yezyk accounted for the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek, the top seed, at the final hurdle (11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 11-3) to capture the Class 2 title; Thomas Brüchle overcame Dacian Makszim in the Class 3 title decider (12-10, 11-7, 11-2) and Paul Karabardak gained revenge. In the group stage, the Welshman had been beaten by Croatia’s Vjekoslav Gregorovic in four games (6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5); in the final he turned the tables to win by a similar margin to that by which he had experienced defeat (12-10, 12-10, 6-11, 11-4).
“It’s a really good start to the season. It was difficult in the group games, I was feeling a bit under the weather and I was nervous which I always am in the first competition of the season but I managed to fight and get out of the group and then I started playing my best table tennis. I knew the final was going to be tough because I’d already lost to him but I managed to play my best and win the match. I think I played with a bit more energy and kept the momentum when I was in a winning position because he is a great player; if I had let him back in it would have made life hard for me and thankfully I won in the end. I’ve played well here but I also think I can play better so hopefully there’ll be better things to come this year”, Paul Karabardak
Otherwise it was success for the top seeds. Hungary’s Endre Major claimed the Class 1 title beating the host nation’s Andrea Borgato in the final (6-11, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10). Likewise, Poland’s Rafal Lis won Class 4 overcoming Israel’s Shai Siada in the title decider (10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6), whilst in Class 5 it was gold for Serbia’s Mitar Paliucka, in the final he defeated Belgium’s Bert Brands (11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Meanwhile in Class 7 and Class 8 it was success for Ukraine; Maksym Nikolenko won the former accounting for Frenchman Kevin Dourbecker in the gold medal contest (11-7, 11-9, 11-9), in the latter Viktor Didukh overcame Belgium’s Marc Ledoux (11-5, 11-8, 11-9) to claim the top prize.
Silver for France and for Belgium but for both European countries there was gold. Mateo Boheas flew the flag for France, he justified his top seeded position to win Class 10, beating Bas Hegerlink of the Netherlands in the final (11-5, 11-3, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6).
Meanwhile, Florian Van Acker raised the standard for Belgium; likewise the top seed, he accounted for Lucas Creange, like Mateo Boheas from France to claim gold (11-1, 11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6).
The individual events concluded; attention now turns to the team competitions; play concludes on Saturday 4th March.
Day Two: 2017 Lignano Masters Para Open: Draws and Latest Results