A long journey from Brazil, a rather shorter trip from Spain, Lucas Arabian and Eduardo Cuesta emerged the respective names to emerge the most surprise men’s singles winners at the ITTF Para Finland Open, play in the factor 20 tournament concluding after three days of action in Pajulahti on Sunday 1st October.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles the travel less demanding, the Czech Republic’s Denisa Macurova struck gold; the common factor none of the three names were seeded.
In fact, in a group all-play-all class 11 event, Denisa Macurova was the lowest ranked player. She finished ahead of Poland’s Ewa Cychowska with Krystyna Lysiak, also from Poland, the top seed, having to settle for fifth place.
Likewise, in the men’s singles, class 11 provided the shock outcome thanks to Eduardo Cuesta.
At the semi-final stage he beat Belgium’s Florian van Acker, the top seed (11-5, 12-10, 11-1), prior to securing the title at the expense of Poland’s Maciej Makajew, the no.2 seed (11-9, 16-14, 4-11, 11-9), the player against whom he had lost in his very first match of the tournament. In the group phase he experienced a four games defeat (11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5).
Success against the top two names, for Lucas Arabian it was very much the same; in class 5, in the penultimate round he beat Japan’s Toru Nakamoto, the no.2 seed (6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5) prior to securing the title at the hands of Frenchman Nicolas Savant-Aira, the top seed (11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Major upsets, in the two further events that resulted with an unexpected name securing gold, the players to succeed were both second seeds.
The Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek won men’s singles class 2, at the final hurdle accounting for Serbia’s Boris Stoiljkovic (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6); Boris Stoiljkovic was very much a surprise finalist, one round earlier he had ended the progress of Spain’s Daniel Rodriguez (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-5), the quarter-final winner in opposition to Brazil’s Marcio da Costa, the top seed (8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Consistent form from Jiri Suchanek, it was the same in women’s singles class 1 for Germany’s Jana Spegal; in a group arranged women’s singles class 1 event, she remained unbeaten finishing ahead of the host nation’s top seeded Ain Topola.
Otherwise, it was success for the favourites.
Competing in the men’s singles wheelchair events, it was gold for Korea Republic’s Kim Hakjin (class 1), Frenchman Florian Merrien (class 3) and the Czech Republic’s Filip Nachazel (class 4).
Honours shared, in the men’s singles standing events, Sweden enjoyed notable success, Michael Azulay (class 6) and Emil Andersson (class 8) claimed gold as did Brazil’s Paulo Fonseca (class 7), Belgium’s Laurens Devos (class 9) and Frenchman Mateo Boheas (class 10).
Similarly, in the women’s singles there was notable success for Germany. Additional to Jana Spegel, Sandra Mikolaschek (class 3-5) and Stephanie Grebe (class 6) emerged victorious.
Furthermore, Smilla Sand (class 7) increased the Swedish haul; Japan’s Yuri Tomono (class 8) and Poland’s Natalia Partyka (class 9-10) added their names to the honours’ board.
Gold for Natalia Partyka, later partnering colleague, Karolina Pek, the player she beat in the class 9-10 final, the women’s doubles class 20 title was secured.
Two titles for Natalia Partyka, it was the same for her male counterparts Florian Merrien, Laurens Devos and Lucas Arabian.
In the men’s doubles events, alongside compatriots, Florian Merrien partnered Nicolas Savant-Aira to class 8 success, Laurens Devos allied with Marc Ledoux to claim gold in class 18.
Later, Lucas Arabian concluded his visit to Pajulahti, the mixed doubles class 10 winner alongside colleague Joyce Oliveira.
Notably, no further player added to the success gained one day earlier when the men’s and women’s singles titles had been decided.
France enjoyed further success, Flora Vautier partnered Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton to women’s class 10 gold, Clément Berthier and Morgen Caillaud secured the top prize in mixed doubles class 14.
Likewise, there was more success for Belgium and Poland; for the former Ben Despineux joined forces with the Czech Republic’s Daniel Horhut to win men’s doubles class 14; for the latter alongside Japan’s Yuri Tomono, Katarzyna Marszal won women’s doubles class 14, Maciej Makajew and Ewa Cychowska prevailed in mixed doubles class 22.
Titles shared as play concluded, Serbia’s Goran Perlic and Boris Stiljkovic emerged successful in men’s doubles class 4; Germany’s Mio Wagner and Stephanie Grebe in mixed doubles class 20.
Successful conclusions to proceedings for visitors, there was one for the hosts, Aino Tapola partnered Spain’s Miguel Toledo to mixed doubles class 4 gold.
Play concluded in Finland, attention now turns to Argentina, the three-day Copa Tango, a factor 20 tournament, commences on Friday 6th October.