31 Aug 2018

Gold medallist in partnership colleague, Linus Karlsson in May 2017 at the World Team Para Championships in Bratislava; Sweden’s Daniel Gustafsson alongside Australia’s Samuel Von Einem emerged somewhat surprise winners at the 2018 China Para Open Championships in Beijing on Friday 31st August.

Both started proceedings as the no.3 seeds, both ended the day occupying the top step of the podium.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Daniel Gustafsson won Men’s Singles Class 9 accounting for Nigeria’s Tajudeen Agunbiade in the final; a player who was no stranger.

They had met on the opening day in the group phase when Daniel Gustafsson had prevailed in straight games (11-8, 11-6, 14-12), in the title deciding contest life was more exacting; the Swede needed the full five games to secure victory, coming perilously close to defeat in the fourth game (11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 13-11, 11-8).

Earlier at the semi-final stage Daniel Gustafsson had beaten Russia’s Iurii Nozdrunov, the top seed (5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8). Equally unexpected, Tajudeen Agunbiade, not named amongst the highly seeded players, had overcome Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi, the no.4 seed, in the penultimate round (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6). However, it was at the quarter-final stage when he caused the biggest stir. He ousted China’s Zhao Yi Qing, the no.2 seed, in a dramatic duel concluding with a marathon fifth game (11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 5-11, 16-14).

Good form Daniel Gustafsson; it was the same from Samuel Von Einem. He secured the Men’s Singles Class 11 title beating Korea Republic’s Kim Gitae, the no.2 seed, in the final (7-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6), having one round earlier ousted Frenchman, Lucas Creange, the top seed (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10).

Two surprise winners and, in the Men’s Singles standing categories, there was one more. The host nation’s Yan Shuo, the no.2 seed, won Class 7; in the final he beat colleague, Liao Keli, the no.4 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5) and a man in form. In the penultimate round he had ousted Ukraine’s Mykaylo Popov, the top seed (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4).

Unexpected outcomes; not in the remaining events in the Men’s Singles standing categories, the top seeds prevailed.

Germany’s Thomas Rau won Class 6, Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh secured the Class 8 title; meanwhile China’s Lian Hao emerged the Class 10 winner.

Proceedings in the individual events concluded, the team competitions now begin; play concludes on Sunday 2nd September.

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Paralympics Para Table Tennis Samuel Von einem Daniel Gustafsson