08 Sep 2017

Medals assured; the leading names in the wheelchair classes in the Men’s Singles event at the 2017 Czech Para Open in Ostrava, all completed the opening day of action, Thursday 7th September, unbeaten.

Thus all reserved semi-final places.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

However, the success was not gained without some moments of trepidation especially for Great Britain’s Rob Davies, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medallist.

Competing in Class 1, he needed to full five games to beat Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt (11-8, 5-11, 13-15, 11-9, 11-8). Defeat for Fernando Eberhardt but it was his only defeat and thus like Rob Davies, he advanced to the penultimate round.

In all Men’s Singles Para events, where matters are organised in two stages; players finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the knock-out rounds.

At the semi-final stage Fernando Eberhardt meets Hungary’s Endre Major, the no.2 seed; he topped his group without the need for a deciding game and is no stranger to Rob Davies. They met in the penultimate round in Rio de Janeiro.

“I needed to come here and get some practice for the European Championships; Ostrava seemed like a perfect place. It’s the first time to play in a competition in the Czech Republic. It is a really nice place and I wish to see more, if I have time. The hotel is really beautiful; the conditions are good for us. Here, Endre Major, who I beat in the semi-final in Rio is my biggest opponent; if we meet it will be quite tough, but I am looking forward to it.” Rob Davies

Endre Major may await but Fernando Eberhardt may have other ideas and first Rob Davies must overcome Italy’s Federico Falco.
Progress as expected in Class 1 but in Class 3 and Class 5 there were surprises.

In Class 1, Serbia’s Mladen Ciric remained unbeaten to finish in first place in his group ahead of Poland’s Mariusz Czerwinski, the no.3 seed, before at the quarter-final stage overcoming Austria’s Patrick Caha (11-5, 11-4, 14-12). In the round of the last eight, Mladen Ciric meets Japan’s Shinichi Yoshida, the no.2 seed; Brazil’s Welder Knaf, the top seed, opposes Jenson Van Emburgh of the United States, the no.4 seed.

Meanwhile, in Class 5, Argentina’s Mauro Depergola, secured second place in his group against the odds; he remained unbeaten to finish ahead of the host nation’s René Taus, the no.2 seed. In the penultimate round he meets colleague Elias Romero, René Taus opposes Brazil’s Claudiomiro Segatta, the top seed.

Surprises but not in Men’s Singles Class 2 nor in Men’s Singles Class 4, where in each event there were three groups in the initial phase. In the former Poland’s Rafal Czuper, the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek and Tomasz Jakimczuk, the respective top three names all secured first places; as in the latter did the Slovakia’s Peter Mihalik, Poland’s Krszysztof Zylka and Tomislav Spalj.

The top two seeds advanced directly to the semi-finals; for the third seeds a quarter-final duel was needed to reserve penultimate round places. Both obliged. Tomasz Jakimczuk beat Slovakia’s Lucas Klisan (5-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8); Tomislav Spalj overcame Chile’s Cristian Gonzalez (11-6, 12-10, 11-7).

Play in the Men’s Singles wheelchair classes concludes on Friday 8th September.

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Photos: Frantisek Zalewsky


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