08 May 2017

Medallists in the Women’s Singles events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in evidence; on the first day of play, Saturday 6th May, at the 2017 Thermana Lasko 14th Slovenia Para Open, there were familiar faces were on duty.

Furthermore, for those who had travelled to the nation state in south central Europe and had enjoyed proud moments in the Brazilian city, there was a successful start to the individual events campaigns.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Competing in Class 4-5, Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic and Nada Matic, the respective gold and bronze medallists in Class 4 in Rio de Janeiro both ended the day in first places in their respective groups.

Borislava Peric-Rankovic finished ahead of Jordan’s Faten Elelimat with the host nation’s Andreja Dolinar in third place. Likewise, Nada Matic remained unbeaten; runners up spot went to Fatmeh Azzam, like Faten Elelimat from Jordan, with Turkey’s Irem Ohik in third position.

Meanwhile in Class 6, all three Rio 2016 Paralympic Games medallists were on duty. Sandra Paovic, the gold medallist, concluded her group stage matches without alarm. She secured first place with Romania’s Gabriela Constantin and Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal the next in line.

However, for German silver medallist Stephanie Grebe and Ukraine bronze medallist, Maryna Lytovchenko it was a different scenario. They met in the same group with Mayna Lytovchenko emerging successful (9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 14-12).

Defeat but not the end of the road for Stephanie Grebe; she completed matters in second position in the group and thus reserved a main draw place. Players finishing in first and second places in the first stage in all events advance to the main draw.

First places in the group secured, in Class 7 for Kelly Van Zon of the Netherlands and Turkey’s Kubra Korkut, the gold and silver medallists in Rio de Janeiro, one match remains in the initial stage. It is the same for Rio silver medallist Thu Kamkasomphu in Class 8, as it is for Brazilian bronze medal winner Bruna Alexandre in Class 10.

Nevertheless, all are well on their way to securing the prized top place. Kelly van Zon beat Russia’s Diana Gilmanova (11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5) and Canada’s Stephanie Chan (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3) in her opening two matches; Kubra Korku accounted for Germany’s Corinna Hochdorfer (11-5, 11-5, 11-4) and Anne Barneoud (11-6, 11-8, 11-6).

Similarly, Thu Kamkasomphu overcame Thailand’s Sumalee Suangtho (11-3, 11-3, 11-6), before defeating Russia’s Elena Litvinenko (6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4); whilst in her one and only match of the day, Bruna Alexandre accounted for Turkey’s Merve Demir (4-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6).

Outcomes as anticipated but there was one notable upset in the initial stage of the Women’s Singles event. In Class 1-2, Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva, the top seed, was beaten by Florence Gossiaux-Sireau (2-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9) and had to settle for second place in her group. Florence Gossiaux-Sireau duly remained unbeaten to top the group.

Otherwise in events where the initial group phase has concluded, the top seeds all secured pole position; additional to the Rio medallists, Croatia’s Andela Muzinic finished in first place in her group in Class 3 as did Ukraine’s Natalya Kosmina in Class 11.

The individual events conclude on Sunday 7th May.

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Photos: Urban Urbanc/Sportida

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