27 Aug 2021

Spain’s Alvaro Valera, the top seed, a host of titles to his credit, gold in 2000 in Sydney, is out of the men’s singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The cause of the exit, Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos of Greece.

by Ian Marshall

On the morning of Friday 17th August, competing in class 6, the 20 year old, currently listed on the world rankings as the same number as his age, Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos eventually found the Achilles heel of  Chile’s Cristian Dettoni, presently occupying the no.11 spot.

He recovered from the brink of defeat in the third game to record a dramatic full distance victory (8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6).

“A really tough match, I tried my best, it is my first win in a Paralympic Games; I beat a very good opponent. Yesterday he beat the number one player. He is very experienced, he knows what to do; he plays fast, so I had to play fast and keep the ball on the table in order to beat him. My aim when I came here was to get through the group stage; now let’s see how far I can go.” Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos

Earlier in the proceedings, Alvaro Valera had beaten Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos in five games (11-4, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7), before in straight games losing to Cristian Dettoni (12-10, 11-8, 11-7).

Thus, games ratio determined the outcome; it was first place for Cristian Dettoni (5:3), followed by Kanellis Marios Chatzikyriakos (5:5) and Alvaro Valera (3:5).

An unexpected top spot for Cristian Dettoni, it was the same for Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak; having earlier beaten Romania’s Bobi Simon, the no.4 seed (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10), he accounted for Australia’s Trevor Hirth (11-5, 11-8, 11-2) to reserve group top spot.

“He was quite tricky, so it was quite a difficult game, but I thought I played quite well and had too much for him. I’m really pleased to have won the group because it is a really good feeling and gives me a good chance to do well in the next round now. I wanted to make it through the group; that was a big aim of mine and obviously ultimately win a medal but I’m happy that I’ve made it through the group now and I can give it my best in the knock-out stages.” Paul Karabardak

Bobi Simon, having earlier beaten Trevor Hirth (11-7, 11-13, 11-2, 11-3), finished in runners up spot.

Meanwhile, as the first phase of men’s singles class 6 came to a conclusion, Ian Seidenfeld of the United States, Germany’s Thomas Rau and China’s Park Hongkyu secured second positions and thus progress to the main draw.

The previous day, Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier, Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom and Korea Republic’s Park Hongkyu had reserved first places.

Play in the main draw commences later in the day.


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