09 Sep 2017

An unexpected defeat one day earlier in the group stage of proceedings for the host nation’s Rene Taus; one day later on Friday 8th September at the 2017 Czech Para Open in Ostrava, the 45 year old laid the past to rest and emerged as a most worthy champion.

Competing in Men’s Singles Class 5, on the opening day of play, the no.2 seed, he had experienced defeat at the hands of Mauro Depergola (11-7, 11-9, 11-6), the Argentine duly remained unbeaten and finished in first place; runners up spot was the lost Rene Taus.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Francesca Bullock & Frantisek Zalewsky)

In all Para events, where there are two stages; players finishing in first and second places advance to the main draw.

The door to gold still open, at the semi-final stage, he beat Brazil’s Claudiomiro Segatta, the top seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 6-11, 11-8), before securing the title at the final expense of Argentina’s Elias Romero (11-6, 11-4, 11-7).

“The start of the tournament was not good but then I improved. Today I played well, I was really surprised. I will not compete in the European Championships, my international days are over, I would have to start training again; I don’t have the time anymore. I came to Ostrava to meet and chat with my friends and relax; that’s what I’ve done, the win that was an added bonus.” Rene Taus

In the counterpart semi-final, Elias Romero had beaten colleague Mauro Depergola (13-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9).

Defeat for the top seed but in the four remaining Men’s Singles wheelchair events; in the final, it was success for the top seed against the second seed but for one notable name, it was nearly a semi-final farewell.

Notably in the final in Class 1, Great Britain’s Rob Davies repeated the success of 360 days ago at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games when he overcame Hungary’s Endre Major in the penultimate round; in Ostrava he beat the Hungarian in the final (10-12, 15-13, 11-7, 11-6) to seal the title.

A repeat of Rio de Janeiro and there was almost a repeat of Bayreuth earlier this year in June. On that occasion he had experienced defeat in the group stage of proceedings, losing to Italy’s Federico Falco (11-3, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9). In Ostrava he gained revenge but it was only by the minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (11-8, 6-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9).

“It’s good to be back and to get the gold. I didn’t play my best but I’m happy with the way that I dug deep to get the results. It was a difficult match against Falco and it was good to get one back over him. It was a very close match and I was pleased with how I played in the last game. This tournament has been about learning how to play again and get my match tactics right. I’m reasonably happy with where I am at the moment. I know what I need to work on over the next three weeks so I can go to the Europeans with more confidence now.” Rob Davies

Success as status predicted, Rob Davies commenced play as the top seed, Endre Major was the no.2 seed. It was the same in the  remaining Men’s Singles wheelchair events. In Class 2, it was a similar outcome; Poland’s Rafael Czuper overcame the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek in the final (11-9, 11-5, 11-9).

“Rafal is gold, I’m silver; the final against Czuper was difficult. I have beaten him but I lose more times than I win; today I didn’t have the strength or the confidence.” Jiri Suchanek

Likewise in Class 3, Brazil’s Welder Knaf beat Japan’s Shinichi Yoshida to claim gold (11-5, 11-8, 11-5), as did Slovakia’s Peter Mihalik in Class 4 when overcoming Poland’s Krszysztof Zylka (11-8, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10).

Play in the individual events over; matters now focus on the team events.

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Photos: Frantisek Zalewsky

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