26 Aug 2021

Play commencing on Thursday 26th August, the second day of action at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, it could not have been a better start for Turkey.

Competing in men’s singles class 4, it was success for both Nesim Turan and for Abdullah Ozturk.

by Ian Marshall

Most impressively Abdullah Ozturk beat Poland’s Rafal Lis (11-6, 11-3, 11-7) but the contest to attract the attention was Nesim Turan in opposition to Zhang Yan, a player renowned in his native China.

Currently listed at no.4 in the category’s world rankings Nesim Turan, 29 years old, emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins against his 54 year old adversary (9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9).

Just as with Abdullah Ozturk, who presently sits at the top of the men’s class 4 rankings, as opposed to Rafal Lis at no.11, the win recorded by Nesim Turan was anticipated. Zhang Yan is currently named at no.7.

Moreover, at the 2018 World Championships in Lasko, Nesim Turan emerged the men’s singles class 4 winner.

Most certainly it was a very tough task for Zhang Yan who alongside Cao Ninging and Gao Yingyuan won men’s team class 4-5 gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, his style of play very much from a bygone era.

A first appearance on the international stage at the 2001 FESPIC (Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled) Ranking Tournament in Hong Kong, Zhang Yan is a right handed pen-holder, blocking the ball and creating angles his forte.

One could describe his style as traditionally Asian from the 1960s, for Nesim Turan with a powerful forehand, he is trademark European from the present century.

“I’m playing again at 6.00 pm later. My opponent Nesim Turan is a world champion. He won the World Championships a few years ago. He’s a really strong opponent. It’s a pity I lost the match, but I know I’ve given my best. I didn’t expect games two and four to end so quickly. He won those two games in a flash, but I have no regrets as I’ve done my very best.” Zhang Yan,

A close call, a subtle change of tactics crucial in the fifth game.

“The score was 9-9. I expected him to do a long serve, but it turned out to be a short one, that was why I lost that point. Towards the end, I found myself playing less positively. I’ll certainly try harder for the next match.” Zhang Yan,

Abdullah Ozturk and Nesim Turan have now completed their group phase matches and are confirmed in first place; Rafal Lis and Zhang Yan have each one match to play.

Rafal Lis opposes Indonesia’s Adyos Astan, Zhang Yan confronts Cristian Gonzalez; the winners of those contests gain main draw places.

In all events, those finishing in first and second positions in each group advance to the knock-out stage.


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