by Ian Marshall
After having the previous day accounted for Korea Republic’s Kim Niwon, the no.2 seed and bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro (11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9), playing in his first ever Paralympic Games, the 29 year old former mountain bike rider from Aberdare, maintained his good form.
He beat Russia’s Dmitrii Lavrov in four games (11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6) to reserve top spot.
Hailing from an area famed for male voice choirs and Tom Jones, back home, they were singing in the valleys.
“I’m very happy. In the second set I came off for a bit and went a bit passive, but we readjusted that and came out on top and I’m really happy with the way I played and the way I was able to adjust through the sets. My coach Neil Robinson did really well, and I’ve got to give credit to him for slowing me down and it’s working really well.” Tom Matthews
Kim Niwon, having two days earlier, beaten Dmitrii Lavrov (11-9, 11-8, 11-4), secured second place in the group.
Top spot for Tom Matthews, in the remaining matches that brought the initial phase in men’s singles class 1 to a close, it was a battle for second position and thus progress to the main draw.
Italy enjoyed notable success.
Federico Falco beat Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt (11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6), Andrea Borgato overcame Michael Godfrey from the United States (11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7). Meanwhile, in the one remaining contest, Cuba’s Yunier Fernandez accounted for Switzerland’s Silvio Keller (11-9, 12-10, 11-5).
The previous day, Korea Republic’s Joo Youngdae and Kim Hyeon, the respective no.1 and no.4 seeds, had secured group top places, as had Hungary’s Endre Major, the no.3 seed.
Play in the main draw commences later in the day.