by Ian Marshall, Editor
Somewhat differently, Frenchman Fabian Lamirault and the host nation’s José Manuel Ruiz fell just one step short of a repeat success.
All three occupied the top seeded positions. In the women’s singles competition, Kelly van Zon accounted for Poland’s Dajana Jastrzebska (11-3, 2-11, 11-7, 11-3) to secure the class 7-8 title. In the men’s singles, at the final hurdle in class 2, Fabian Lamirault was beaten by Poland’s Rafal Czuper (12-10, 11-8, 5-11, 11-13, 11-9). Similarly, in class 10, José Manuel Ruiz suffered in the title decider at the hands of Montenegro’s Luka Bakic (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8).
Surprise winners in the men’s singles events, they were not alone; the biggest surprise name to strike gold being Italy’s Matteo Orsi. Not seeded, he secured the class 3 title, at the final hurdle accounting for Germany’s Jan Guertler, the no.2 seed (11-13, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 13-11).
Likewise, Slovakia’s Peter Mihalik, Germany’s Bjoern Schnake and Australia’s Ma Lin upset the status quo; however, I would suggest the success gained by Ma Lin, no relation to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games gold medallist by the same name, was no surprise at all. Representing China, he was a men’s singles silver medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Occupying the no.3 seeded position, Peter Mihalik secured the class 4 title beating colleague Boris Travnicek in the final (11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7); in a similar manner in class 7, Bjoern Schnake, the no.2 seed, secured the class 7 top prize at the final expense of Egypt’s Sayed Youssef (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 2-11, 13-11). Also occupying the no.2 seeded spot, Ma Lin overcame Great Britain’s Josh Stacey (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9) to claim gold.
Top seeds succeed
Otherwise in the men’s singles events it was success for the top seeds. In class 1 Italy’s Federico Falco turned the tables, after losing to Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamente in the group stage (11-4, 14-12, 5-11, 11-7), he reversed the decision in the final (7-11, 11-1, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9).
A hard earned win for Federico Falco, it was very much the same for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih, the host nation’s Alvaro Valera, Frenchman Thomas Bouvais and Belgium’s Florian van Acker.
At the final hurdle, in class 5, Cheng Ming-Chih beat Argentina’s Elias Romero (11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9), Alvaro Valera accounted for Italy’s Raimondo Alecci (11-3, 11-5, 11-3) to secure the top prize in class 6; Thomas Bouvais defeated Hungary’s Andras Csonka (11-5, 11-6, 11-8) to emerge the class 8 champion. Completing the records for the top seeds, Florian van Acker prevailed in class 11 in opposition to Japan’s Takeshi Takemori (6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles events, the player to upset the pecking order was Yang Qian, the no.2 seed, in the class 9-10 final she beat Australian teammate Melissa Tapper, the top seed (11-3, 2-11, 11-7, 11-3). Similar to Ma Lin, in Chinese colours Yang Qian was a silver medallist in class 10 at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.
A minor upset, if an upset at all; in the remaining women’s singles events it was gold as anticipated for the leading names. In group organised events, in class 2-3, Croatia’s Helena Dretar finished ahead of Turkey’s Hatice Duman; in class 6 Russia’s Maliak Alieva secured first position, next in line being Poland’s Katarzyna Marszal.
Likewise, in events where there was a group stage followed by knock-out; Korea Republic’s Jung Younga beat Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun to claim the class 4-5 title (11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9); in class 11, an all-Russian final witnessed success for Elena Prokofeva in opposition to Maria Galkina (10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7).
Team events now follow, play concludes in Platja d’Aro on Sunday 8th March.
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