07 Mar 2020

Successful just under one year ago in the same venue, Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands, gold medallist at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, repeated her performance on Friday 6th March to once again emerge the winner in Platja d'Aro.

On Friday 6th March, she struck gold at the Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2020.

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).

Major surprise

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).

Bjoern Schnake upset the odds to win men’s singles class 7 (Photo: Antonio Alvarez Luengo)


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.

Alvaro Valrera justified his top seeded position to win the men’s singles class 6 title (Photo: Antonio Alvarez Luengo)


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).

Australian final

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.

Helena Dretar finished in first place in women’s singles class 2-3 (Photo:Antonio Alvarez Luengo)


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.

Paralympics 2020 Costa Brava Para Open Player of the Month kelly van Zon

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