by Ian Marshall, Editor
On the penultimate day of play, not amongst the highly seeded names, the 19-year-old had won class 5; one day later Finland’s Aino Tapola, Korea Republic’s Moon Sungkem and Norway’s Nora Korneliussen, alongside Brazil’s Jennyfer Marques and Lea Ferney of France, followed suit.
In class 1-2, Aimo Tapola, providing she entered the arena, was assured of first place in the group organised event; present and correct she beat Germany’s Janina Sommer (11-1, 11-4, 11-5) to secure her Tokyo place in style.
Relatively comfortable for Aimo Tapola, in class 9, it was the same for Jennyfer Marques; after ousting Korea Republic’s Kim Kunhea, the top seed, she beat Ukraine’s Iryna Shynkarova (11-4, 11-5, 11-1) to arrest the title.
Meanwhile, for Nora Korneliussen, life was only slightly more exacting. On duty in class 6, she secured the first prize by overcoming Germany’s Tiziana Oliv (6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9), the surprise semi-final winner against the top seed from Argentina, Gizelle Muñoz (11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6).
Somewhat similarly, in class 11, Lea Ferney of France needed four games to beat Turkey’s Ebru Acer to claim her Tokyo place (11-13, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7); the win very much the reverse of the group stage. On that occasion, Acer had prevailed in straight games (13-11, 11-5, 11-4).
Top spot against the odds but without drama, it was different for Moon Sungkem. At the semi-final stage she was extended the full distance by Great Britain’s Fliss Pickard, the no.2 seed, emerging successful by the very narrowest of margins (6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-2, 13-11). A place in the final reserved, confidence high, she accounted for Romania’s Gabriela Constantin in four games (11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4).
Surprise outcomes, for Turkey’s Nergiz Altintas in class 3 and Great Britain’s Sue Gilroy in class 4, victory was much less an upset.
Both started play the no.2 seeds. At the final hurdle, Nergiz Altintas beat Japan’s Yukimi Chada (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9), succeeding for the second time in the tournament, Nergiz Altintas having earlier in the group phase prevailed in a much more authoritative manner (11-9, 11-5, 11-1). Notably, in the penultimate round, Yukimi Chada had raised her level, she had ousted Croatia’s Helena Dretar, the top seed (14-12, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9).
Impressive from Nergiz Altintas, it was no different from Sue Gilroy. She secured her Tokyo place by overcoming Turkey’s Irem Oluk, the no.3 seed (8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9), the penultimate round winner against Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun, the top seed (11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5).
Unexpected winners, not in class 8 nor in class 10, the only women’s events where the top seeds prevailed. In Class 10, Turkey’s Merve Demir beat Romania’s Ioana-Monica Tepelea (11-9, 11-9, 11-5), to book her ticket to Tokyo in a déjà vu contest. Earlier they had met in the group stage when Merve Demir had succeeded in a similar manner (11-9, 11-9, 11-5).
Rather differently, for Hungary’s Zsofia Arloy in the class 8 group organised event, she experienced her one and only defeat in her concluding match. She was beaten in five games by Russia’s Elena Litvinenko (9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5).
Nevertheless, it was enough to secure top spot; on games ratio she finished ahead of Elena Litvinenko and Japan’s Yuri Tomona.
Eyes now focus on Tokyo!
Paralympic World Qualification Tournament – Results: http://www.ipttc.org/upload/