09 Sep 2017

Croatia’s Pavao Jozic, Ukraine’s Mykaylo Popov and Hungary Andras Csonka all justified their top seeded positions as play in the Men’s Singles standing classes came to a conclusion on Friday 8th September at the 2017 Czech Para Open in Ostrava.

All emerged successful but there were surprise winners as Poland caused the upsets; against expectations Damien Fira, Pawel Jablonski and Igor Misztal, struck gold.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interview by Frantisek Zalewský)

Damian Fira finished in first place in Class 11 ahead of top seeded colleague, Marel Chybinski in a group organised event but it was in Class 9 that the biggest upset was witnessed and in Class 10 where the host nation suffered the greatest disappointment.

Not seeded, on the opening day of play, Pawel Jablonski had experienced a straight games defeat in his initial stage group at the hands of the Czech Republic’s David Pulpan (11-8, 11-9, 14-12). The effect was second place in the group with David Pulpan remaining unbeaten to reserve top spot.

Runners up spot meant a semi-final place; it also meant a change in fortunes for Pawel Jablonski. He beat colleague Pawel Konstantyn, the top seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-9), prior to securing the title at the hands of Hungary’s Barnabas Retter (11-6, 11-8, 11-6). Likewise not seeded and the previous day beaten by Pawel Konstantyn in straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-1), in the penultimate round Barnabas Retter had caused a major upset by overcoming David Pulpan (11-8, 11-9, 11-4).

Disappointment for the Czech Republic; in Class 10 the level of disappointment was arguably even higher. After accounting for Argentina’s Dario Neira (11-0, 11-9, 11-6); Ivan Karabec, the top seed, was beaten by Igor Misztal (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8).

Three somewhat unexpected winners; in the remaining Men’s Singles standing categories, in the final it was success for the top seeds.

In Class 6, after accounting for Croatia’s Vjekoslav Gregorovic, the no.2 seed (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7), who the previous day had finished in second place in his group behind Cristian Dettoni; Pavao Jozic, also from Croatia, accounted for Matias Pino, like Cristian Dettoni from Chile, to secure the top prize (11-7, 11-7, 11-4).

Meanwhile, in Class 7 Ukraine’s Mykaylo Popov caused the Czech Republic more pain by beating Daniel Horut, the no.2 seed in the final (11-3, 11-6, 11-7); whilst in Class 8, likewise in a meeting between the top seeds, Hungary’s Andras Csonka accounted for Poland’s Piotr Grudzien by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10) to reserve the top step of the podium.

“It was a very difficult final, I had to make a big effort to win this match, Daniel is a very good player. I’m a full time player and member of the Ukraine national team; my goal is not necessarily the European Championships this year but the World Championships next year.” Mykaylo Popov

The individual events over, attention now turns to the team competitions; play concludes in Ostrava on Saturday 9th September.

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Photos: Frantisek Zalewsky

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