Winner last year in France and Thailand, when play concluded on the evening of Saturday 11th March at the ITTF Costa Brava Spanish Para Open 2023 in Platja d’Aro, Ander Cepas emerged the toast of the host nation.
Furthermore, he underlined the fact he is very much a name to note for the future; only 18 years old, he caused one of the biggest surprises in the whole tournament.
Competing in men’s singles class 9, he ousted Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi, the top seed, by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 12-14, 13-11, 3-11, 11-9), prior to securing the title at the expense of Spanish colleague, Jorge Cardona, the no.2 seed (13-11, 14-12, 11-8).
A surprise outcome perhaps but Ander Cepas has a liking for Platja d’Aro, he won in 2021, last year being the silver medallist.
Later he partnered Jorge Cardona to men’s doubles class 18 gold, the pair accounting for the French duo comprising Thomas Bouvais and Mateo Boheas (11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6) to claim gold. Earlier in the day he had joined forces with Olaia Martinez to win mixed doubles class 20 silver, at the final hurdle the duo experiencing defeat at the hands of Brazil’s Paulo Fonseca and Bruna Alexandre (9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-7).
Success for Bruna Alexandre meant she departed Platja d’Aro with two titles to her name; earlier she had secured women’s singles class 9-10 gold.
Similarly, Norway’s Aida Dahlen and Germany’s Sandra Mikolaschek claimed two titles, but the leading lady was Morgan Caillaud of France; like Ander Cepas she added silver to her golden collection.
Aida Dahlen prevailed in women’s singles class 8, prior to adding the women’s doubles class 14 title alongside colleague Merethe Tveiten; Sandra Mikolaschek emerged the women’s singles class 4-5 winner, before joining forces with Thomas Brüchle, also from Germany, to claim mixed doubles class 10 gold.
In a likewise vein, Morgen Caillaud claimed women’s singles class 6-7 gold. Later in class 14 in harness with French colleagues, she secured mixed doubles gold partnering Clément Berthier and women’s doubles silver in harness with Lucie Hautière.
Two titles; additional to Ander Cepas, it was the same for Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger and Valentin Baus. In the men’s singles, Thomas Schmidberger won gold in class 3, Valentin Baus in class 5; together they reserved the top prize in men’s doubles class 8.
Success in the men’s singles events for Thomas Schmidberger and Valentin Baus as anticipated, they commenced play the top seeds; it was the same for Frenchman Fabien Lamirault (class 2), Thomas Bouvais (class 8) and for Mateo Boheas (class 10). Also, Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier (class 6) and Belgium’s Florian van Acker (class 11) justified their top seeded status.
Notably for Thomas Bouvais it was a second such success this year; in February he won in Egypt.
Anticipated outcomes but there were men’s singles surprises, Ander Cepas was not alone. Kim Hakjin beat top seeded Korea Republic colleague, Joo Youngdae (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6), to claim class 1 gold; similarly, Japan’s Kazuki Shichino overcame Frenchman, Maxime Thomas to emerge the class 4 champion.
Not to be omitted, Brazil’s Israel Stroh upset the order of merit to win class 7 gold. In the title decider he accounted for Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands (11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, surprise winners were very much in the minority. Sandra Mikolaschek, Morgen Caillaud, Aida Dahlen and Bruna Alexandre all started as favourites, a situation that applied also to Lea Ferney of France. The reigning world champion, she won class 11.
The only notable upset came in class 1-3; Italy’s Carlotta Ragazzini emerging the surprise winner. Not listed amongst the seeded names, she won class 1-3, at the semi-final stage she beat Korea Republic’s Lee Migyu, the top seed (11-9, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5), before securing the title at the final expense of Brazil’s Thais Severo (12-14, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12).
Attention now turns to the Adriatic Coast in northern Italy, the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open 2023 commences on Wednesday 15th March.
- Podium Places ITTF Costa Brava Factor 20 Para Open 2023: Podium Places
- ITTF Costa Brava Factor 20 Para Open 2023: Full Results