Proceedings concluding in São Paulo on Sunday 26th March at the ITTF Brazilian Para Open 2023, a factor 20 tournament for world ranking calculations, the host nation could reflect on a most successful three days; their leading female players setting the standard.
Impressively, Brazilians captured five of the six women’s singles titles on offer; the one to prove elusive being in class 11, Hong Kong China’s Wong Ting Ting, bronze medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, prevented a full house.
Gold medallist last year when the tournament was staged in October, Catia Oliveira (class 2), Joyce Oliveira (class 3-5) and Sophia Kelmer (class 8) enjoyed success once again, as did Bruna Alexandre (class 10). Success for Bruna Alexandre and a third consecutive title of the month; earlier she had won on the Costa Brava and in Lignano.
Significantly, for Danielle Rauen (class 9) it was one step higher; some six months ago, competing in the combined class 9-10, she had been beaten in the final by Bruna Alexandre.
Five titles for the Brazilian women, all as predicted, they commenced play the top seeds; it was the same number for the men but with a difference. Fabio Silva (class 3), Israel Stroh (class 7) and Thiago Gomes (class 11), upset the status quo.
The biggest surprise was caused by Thiago Gomes; the defending champion but on this occasion the third highest rated player in his class.
At the semi-final stage, he accounted for Hong Kong’s Wan Wai Lok, the top seed (7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 18-16, 11-4), before overcoming colleague Lucas Hansen (11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8), very much a player in form. In the penultimate round he had caused Hong Kong further disappointment; he had doused the hopes of Leung Chu Yan, the no.2 seed (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Rather less unexpected Fabio Silva and Israel Stroh commenced matters occupying the no.2 seeded position.
Fabio Silva, silver medallist last October, secured the title at the expense of colleague, David Andrade de Freitas, recovering from a two games to nil deficit (10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
An anticipated final opponent for Fabio Silva, for Israel Stroh, life was rather different. At the ultimate hurdle he overcame Chile’s Claudio Bahamondes (11-7, 8-11, 1-11, 11-4, 11-6), the player who earlier had caused the tournament’s biggest upset. At the quarter-final stage he ended the hopes of Frenchman, Stéphane Messi, the top seed and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games gold medallist; success gained by the very narrowest of margins (11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 3-11, 14-12).
Success once again for Israel Stroh, it was the same for compatriots Guilherme Marcio da Costa (class 2) and for Lucas Carvalho (class 9), both top seeds.
Likewise, there were wins as predicted for Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt (class 1), Korea Republic’s Kim Youngun (class 4) and Frenchman Clément Berthier (class 8), top seeded positions vindicated.
Rather differently for Argentina’s Elias Romero (class 5) alongside Chile’s Ignacio Torres (class 6) and Manuel Echaveguren (class 10), the wins was not necessarily to be anticipated.
Elias Romero, the no.2 seed, beat Frenchman, Nicolas Savant-Aira, the top seed (11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7); likewise, Ignacio Torres, the no.3 seed, caused France heartaches. At the semi-final stage, he accounted for Esteban Herrault, the top seed (11-8, 12-10, 12-10), before overcoming colleague, Matias Pino, the no.2 seed, to claim gold.
Impressive performances, it was the same from Manuel Echaveguren; the fourth highest rated in action, in the penultimate round he beat Argentina’s Dario Niera, the no.2 seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-9), before accounting for Brazil’s Carlos Carbinatti Junior (11-3, 11-8, 11-6) to emerge victorious.
Notably, Carlos Carbinatti Junior was a player in form; at the semi-final stage he had ousted teammate Claudio Massad, the top seed (9-11, 15-13, 7-11, 11-6, 11-1).
Titles for Brazil, more ensued; later Guilherme Marcio da Costa, Joyce Oliveira and Danielle Rauen added to the host nation’s tally to emerge the most successful players in duty; a full house the end result.
In class 4, Guilherme Marcio da Costa partnered Iranildo Espindola to men’s doubles gold, Catia Oliveira to mixed doubles success. Similarly, Joyce Oliveira claimed the women’s doubles class 10 title in harness with Marliane Santos, the mixed doubles class 7 crown alongside Fabio Silva.
Not to be overshadowed, in class 20 Danielle Rauen enjoyed women’s doubles success alongside Jennyfer Parinos, mixed doubles success in harness with Gabriel Antunes. Similarly for the hosts there were two titles for Bruna Alexandre, to her earlier success she added the mixed doubles class 17 title alongside Paulo Salmin.
Successful ventures, from foreign shores it was the same for Kim Younggun and Clément Berthier, both added to their earlier men’s singles wins as for the women did Wong Ting Ting; she joined forces with compatriot Yuwn King Shing to win mixed doubles class 22 gold.
Meanwhile, Kim Younggun partnered Frenchman, Emeric Martin to gold in men’s doubles class 8, Clément Berthier to Esteban Herrault in men’s doubles class 14.
Success for Clément Berthier to Esteban Herrault meant they have emerged men’s doubles victors in all four para open international tournaments staged this year; previously they won in Giza, Costa Brava and Lignano.
Play now concluded in São Paulo, attention now turns to Agostoli, the three day ITTF Greek Para Open 2023, likewise a factor 20 tournament, commences on Friday 28th April.