Competing in men’s singles class 9, at the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2022, a Factor 20 tournament for world ranking purposes, in his opening group stage match, 17-year-old Ander Cepas caused the biggest sensation on the opening day of action.
In fact looking into the crystal ball, it could well prove the shock result of the year!
He beat Australia’s Ma Lin, gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and more recently silver medallist in Tokyo. The ebullient teenager emerged successful in a five games contest (6,-10,7,-5,6).
“Yes, it was really a great match for me but there are still more matches to play in the group; I must keep going for the rest of the tournament and try to win the title.” Ander Cepas
It was to prove the only defeat of the day for Ma Lin, he finished in second place in the group and thus advanced to the semi-finals; Ander Cepas maintained his unbeaten record.
The outcome is they could well meet again; in the penultimate round, Ander Cepas meets Frenchman Lucas Didier, Ma Lin opposes Great Britain’s Joshua Stacey.
Success for Ander Cepas rather overshadowed the efforts of Hungary’s Endre Major and Italy’s Giada Rossi; the players to strike first day gold.
Giada Rossi justified her top seeded position to secure the women’s singles class 1-2 title, in a group organised event, she finished ahead of Poland’s Dorota Buclaw and Finland’s Aino Tapola.
Somewhat differently, Hungary’s Endre Major caused a surprise; likewise in an all-play-all event, he emerged the men’s singles class 1 winner. He finished ahead of Italy’s Federico Falco with Korea Republic’s Joo Youngdae, the top seed and gold medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, in third place.
Further problems for Korea Republic
Defeat for one Korea Republic top seed, there was defeat for another. In men’s singles class 5, in the group phase Kim Kiyoung was beaten by Ahad Sarand of the United States (6,-7,7,9). He finished in second place, reserved a quarter-final berth but advanced no further. Sweden’s David Olsson ended adventures (10,-8,11,-7,5).
Ahad Sarand remained unbeaten and now faces Germany’s Bart Brands in the penultimate round, David Olsson confronts Brazil’a Lucas Carvahal.
Top seeds advance
Surprises, in the remaining events, the top seeds all reserved semi-final places.
In the men’s singles wheelchair classes: it was progress for Fabien Lamirault (France), Jenson Van Emburgh (United States) and Rafal Lis (Poland); in the counterpart standing categories, it was success for Matteo Parenzan (Italy), Jean-Paul Montanus (Netherlands), Ross Wilson (Great Britain), Matteo Boheas (France) and in class 11 for Peter Palos (Hungary).
Meanwhile, for the women; in the wheelchair categories Andela Muzinic (Croatia) and Moon Sunghae (Korea Republic) advanced, as in the standing events did Katarzyna Marszal (Poland), Kelly van Zon (Netherlands), Lei Li Na (Australia), Natalia Partyka (Poland), Ebru Acer (Turkey) and in class 11, Ebru Acer (Turkey).
The ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open is the first Para tournament of the year and signals a new dawn; men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles replace men’s team and women’s team events.
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