20 May 2017

Success for Japan, a place in the final of Men’s Class 9 was achieved at the 2017 World Para Championships in Bratislava following success against Finland on the morning of Saturday 20th May but for the combination of Koyo Iwabachi and Nobuyucki Suzuki it was a close call.

Esa Miettinen and Ismo Lallo proved most worthy opponents.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The Japanese duo secured the doubles (11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6), before Finland levelled matters following success for Esa Miettinen in opposition to Koyo Iwabachi (10-12, 15-13, 11-4, 11-9).

A fine effort from Esa Miettinen and when Ismo Lallo won the first two games against Nobuyucki Suzuki, the balance was firmly in favour of the northern European country.

However, as tiredness and physical condition took its toll, the momentum changed; the next three games went in favour of Nobuyucki Suzuki (6-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3), Japan had a place in the final.

Defeat for northern Europe but there was also success; in the corresponding semi-final, the Swedish partnership formed by Anders Andersson and Daniel Gustafsson recorded a two matches to nil win against the German combination of Christian Kalb and Yannick Ruddenklau.

Success for Japan; there was also defeat. In the penultimate round of Men’s Class 7 Katsuyoshi Yagi and Masachika Inoue experienced a two-nil reverse against Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom and Charlempong Punpoo.

Architect of the victory was Rungroj Thainiyom; he partnered Charlempong Punpoo to doubles success (11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8), before accounting for Masachika Inoue to seal the victory.

“The doubles was a close match. For my singles match, Masachika has a very good backhand; I played to his forehand as much as possible.” Rungroj Thainiyom

In the final Charlempong Punpoo and Rungroj Thainiyom meet the Ukraine; the pairing of Malsym Nikolenko and Mykhaylo Popov having beaten the French combination of Stéphane Messi and Kevin Dourbecker in the penultimate round.

Finalists in Men’s Class 7 and Men’s Class 9 determined, it was the same in Men’s Class 5 where there was also defeat for Germany. The partnership of Valentin Baus and Jan Guertler experienced a two-nil reverse at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih and Lin Yen-Hung.

The Chinese Taipei pair captured the doubles (11-3, 11-4, 13-15, 9-11, 11-5), before Cheng Ming-Chih overcame Valentin Baus (11-9, 5-11, 11-3, 11-9) to end matters

“Being the only Chinese Taipei team fighting for medals, it was a little stressful but I tried to relax by listening to music before the match. In the doubles, we led 2-0, 11-10 but we missed an easy. In the fifth game, we managed to widen the gap after 5-5. It was a thrilling match.” Cheng Ming-Chih

Chinese Taipei now meet Turkey in the title decider; at semi-final stage the combination of Hamza Caliskan and Ali Ozturk accounted for the Serbian trio of Darko Babic, Mitar Palikuca and Budimir Malesic by two matches to nil.

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Photos: Richard Kalocsai

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