30 Aug 2018

Crowned European champion last year in Lasko, Russia’s Viktoriya Safonova emerged the first winner at the 2018 China Para Open in Beijing.

On Thursday 30th August, she secured the Women’s Singles Class 7 title finishing ahead of China’s Wang Rui, Macao’s U Choi Hong and Japan’s Keiko Fujimoto in a group organised event.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Success for Viktoriya Safonova was as anticipated; she commenced play as the top seed.

However, the were surprises as the Women’s Singles events commenced but the wins recorded by the host nation’s Zhang Miao and Fan Lei against seeded opposition could hardly be considered upsets.

Somewhat differently, the success gained by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Tzu-Yu was unexpected.

Silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, World champion in 2014, whilst also being crowned Asian champion in both 2013 and 2017; competing in Class 4, Zhang Miao beat Germany’s Sandra Mikolaschek, the no.2 seed (8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8).

Imposingly, she remained unbeaten to top the group; the German suffering no further defeats, thus securing second place and progress to the main draw was achieved. In all Para competitions where there are two stages, first and second places players in each group advance to the knock-out phase.

Similarly in Class 10, Fan Lei, bronze medallist at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and four years later in London, accounted for Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic, the top seed (8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-2), duly remaining unbeaten to secure first place. Alas for Mirjana Lucic, she was also lost to Japan’s Nozomi Takeuchi (11-5, 11-7, 11-4) and had to settle for third position. Nozomi Takeuchi finished in runners up spot.

Notable performances but the one to note was that of Lin Tzu-Yu; also playing in Class 10 but with no great previous international success of note. Only 18 years old, she beat Hou Chunxiao, the no.3 seed (6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9). Lin Tzu-Yu duly topped the group with Hou Chunxiao in second place. Pertinently at the 2017 Asian Para Championships, Hou Chunxiao had been a member of China’s gold medal winning outfit in Women’s Team Class 9-10; on that occasion she lined up alongside Xiong Guiyan and Zhao Xiaojing.

Wins contrary to status but in the remaining Women’s Singles events as matters commenced, the leading names all ended the opening day unbeaten.

Italy’s Giada Rossi emerged unscathed in Class 1-2, as did China’s Xue Juan in Class 3 and Zhou Ying in Class 4; likewise it was a successful day for further players from the host nation. Mao Jingdian was untroubled in Class 8, as was Xiong Guiyan in Class 9.

Additionally, Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovenchenko justified her top seeded position in Class 6 as in Class 11 did colleague Natalya Kosmina.

Play in the Women’s Team event concludes on Friday 31st August.

2018 China Para Open: Latest Draws and Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Victoriya Safonova