Tournaments

28 Oct 2019

Every tournament has an added importance as the clock ticks down to Tuesday 31st March; on the world rankings current next year on that date, a total of 72 men and 28 women will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

On Saturday 26th October at the 2019 Para China Open in Hangzhou, as titles were defended successfully and surprise winners emerged, five months hence was strong in the mind.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Poland’s Rafal Czuper and the host nation’s Cao Ningning, alongside colleagues Xue Juan, Zhang Bian and Mao Jingdian emerged the players to successfully defend the titles won the previous year in Beijing.

Rafal Czuper beat Russia’s Rasul Nazirov (11-6, 11-6, 13-11) to claim the men’s singles class 1-2 title; similarly, Cao Ningning the leading name on duty in men’s singles class 5, secured gold at the final expense of Great Britain’s Jack Hunter-Spivey, the no.2 seed (11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8).

“I’m really happy with the way I played out here and really pleased to navigate my way through to the final beating some good players on the way. This was a big competition for me in terms of qualification for Tokyo and feel I handled the pressure well. It was a great end to the year.” Jack Hunter-Spivey

Likewise in the women’s singles events Xue Juan beat colleague, Li Qian (11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 11-8) to retain the class 3 title, Zhang Bian overcame Korea Republic’s Kang Oejeong (11-6, 11-2, 11-8) to emerge the class 5 champion; not to be outdone Mao Jingdian prevailed in class 8. Similarly, in an all Chinese final, she accounted for Huang Wenjuan (11-6, 11-1, 11-7).

Surprise winners

In each instance it was success for the top seeded player but as play progressed there were upsets.

Notably, in the women’s singles competition, in class 1-2 organised on a group basis, China’s Liu Jing finished in first place ahead of Brazil’s Catia Oliveira and Korea Republic’s Seo Suyeon, the top seed. Similarly, in class 4, Gu Xiaodan secured gold at the final expense of colleague and defending champion, Zhou Ying (17-15, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8).

Following suit, in class 6, Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal, the no.2 seed, after accounting for Great Britain’s Felicity Pickard (11-9, 11-5, 12-10), overcame Iraq’s Naijah Imad Lafta Al-Dayyeni (11-5, 11-13, 11-9, 11-4) to secure the top prize. Similarly, there was a surprise outcome in class 11, like class 1-2 organised on a group basis, Sayuri Mio finished ahead of compatriot Maki Ito, the top seed.

Unexpected success

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles competition, China’s Chen Chao, Liao Keli, Zhao Yi Qing and Poland’s Igor Misztal, alongside Japan’s Koya Kato emerged surprise winners.

Chen Chao won class 6 beating defending champion, Germany’s Thomas Rau in the final (7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9), Liao Keli emerged the class 7 champion at the final expense of compatriot Yan Shuo (12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4). In a similar vein Zhao Yi Qing, the no.2 seed, reserved the top prize in class 9; he accounted for Great Britain’s Ashley Facey-Thompson in the final (11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8), the semi-final winner in opposition to Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi (11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-5).

“I had to dig deep against Koyo. It was a good match but I had the upper hand in the end and managed to win. I started slowly in the final but I kept a cool head and managed to get back into the match but my opponent played well. Overall I’m happy with silver.” Ashley Facey-Thompson

Top spot against the odds for Zhao Yi Qing, it was the same for Igor Misztal in class 10 and Koya Kato in class 11. Not seeded Igor Misztal accounted for China’s Lian Hao, the top seed and defending champion (11-9, 12-10, 11-8), before overcoming the Czech Republic’s Ivan Karabec, the no.2 seed (11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6) to seal the title. Impressive from Igor Misztal, it was the same from Koya Kato, the no.2 seed, he overcame Korea Republic’s Kim Gitae (11-8, 11-8, 11-8) to emerge victorious.

Top seeds prevail

Meanwhile, in the remaining competitions it was success for the top seeds. In the men’s events, China’s Feng Panfeng secured gold in class 3, Frenchman Maxime Thomas in class 4, Zhao Shuai also from China in class 8.

Similarly in the women’s singles events, China’s Wang Rui prevailed in class 7, colleague Xiong Guiyan succeeded in class 9, Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre emerged the class 10 champion.

Attention now turns to the team events, play concludes in Huangzhou on Monday 28th October.

2019 Para China Open: Latest draws and results

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