05 Feb 2024

Consistent performers add to title haul in Brazil

Winners the previous week in Egypt, Korea Republic’s Nam Kiwon alongside Frenchmen Clément Berthier and Lucas Creange maintained their impressive form to emerge successful in the men’s singles events at the ITTF Brazilian Para Open 2024 in São Paulo, play concluding on Sunday 4th February.

Similarly, successful some two weeks earlier in the United States, Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton did the same, she struck gold in women’s singles class 4-5.

“Winning here in Brazil feels so nice, especially after a great tournament in the US Open a couple of weeks ago. I’ve managed to pull through some tricky situations and kept building on my form and finding more fighting spirit with each match, which in the end I think really helps with confidence in those tight moments.” Megan Shackleton

Most significantly all enhanced their chances of reserving places in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, eyes focused on the crucial World rankings to be issued on Monday 1st April.

Competition intense, Nam Kiwon won class 1, Clément Berthier class 8; both successes as status advised, they occupied the top seeded positions.

Bronze for Takeshi Takamori in men's singles class 11 (Photo: Dhavid Normando)
Bronze for Takeshi Takamori in men’s singles class 11 (Photo: Dhavid Normando)

Somewhat differently, Lucas Creange, the class 11 winner, commenced matters the no.3 seed.

Upsetting the order of merit, at the semi-final stage he ousted Japan’s Takeshi Takamori (11-5, 11-4, 11-4), prior to securing the title at the expense of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Po-Yen, the top seed (11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 13-11).

Gold contrary to expectations but no great surprises, in the men’s singles it was the same for colleague Stéphane Messi, as it was for Chile’s Ignacio Torres and Spain’s José Manuel Ruiz.

Stéphane Messi, likewise, the no.3 seed, accounted for the host nation’s Israel Stroh, the top seed, at the quarter-final stage (11-5, 12-10, 11-6), before overcoming Paulo Fonseca, also from Brazil (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8) and Sweden’s Jonas Hansson (11-6, 15-13, 11-7) to arrest the title.

Notably, in the penultimate round, Jonas Hansson, not seeded, ended the aspirations of Spain’s Jordi Morales, the no.2 seed (11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8).

 José Manuel Ruiz completed a major fightback to win men's singles class 10 (Photo: Dhavid Normando)
José Manuel Ruiz completed a major fightback to win men’s singles class 10 (Photo: Dhavid Normando)

In a similar fashion, Ignacio Torres and José Manuel Ruiz caused minor waves, both commenced matters in the no.2 seeded spot; the win recorded by José Manuel Ruiz arguably the most eye catching of all.

He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to secure the class 10 title at the expense of Frenchman Mateo Boheas, the top seed (8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9). Significantly Mateo Boheas had won one week earlier in Egypt.

No repeat success for Mateo Boheas but in a different manner, it was for Ignacio Torres. Competing in class 6, in the group stage he beat Sweden’s Michael Azulay (11-8, 13-11, 11-9), in the final he did very much the same, another straight games win (11-6, 15-13, 11-7).

At the semi-final stage Ignacio Torres had ousted Spain’s Alvaro Valera, the top seed (14-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7).

Mild surprises, otherwise in the men’s singles, the top seeds prevailed, all five wheelchair categories witnessing success for the favourites.
Additional to Nam Kiwon, Chile’s Luis Bustamente won class 2, Argentina’s Gabriel Copola class 3; Frenchman Maxime Thomas class 4, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ning-Chih class 5.

Likewise, in class 9 there was gold for Spain’s Ander Cepas.

Li Jing-Shuan emerged the surprise women's singles class 11 winner, later in class 22 she added the women's and mixed doubles titles
Li Jing-Shuan emerged the women’s singles class 11 winner, later in class 22 she added the women’s and mixed doubles titles (Photo: Dhavid Normando)

Leading names making their presence felt, in the women’s singles that fact was even more pronounced; there was just one upset.

Not seeded, Chinese Taipei’s Li Jing-Shuan secured the class 11 title, accounting for Japan’s Maki Ito in the final (11-8, 11-6, 11-7); notably one round earlier Li Jing-Shuan had ousted France’s Lea Ferney, the top seed (4-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9).

Disappointment for the top seed, not in the remaining women’s singles event, all went the way of the leading names.

Additional to Megan Shackleton, Argentina’s Maria Garrone won class 1-2, Brazil’s Joyce Oliveira class 3.

Authority imposed, it was the same from Kelly van Zon of the Netherlands in class 6-7, a situation that applied to Japan’s Yuri Tomono in class 8 and the host nation’s Bruna Alexandre in class 9-10.

Gold for Bruna Alexandre, later in the proceedings, alongside Danielle Rauen, the player she had beaten in the women’s singles class 9-10 final (11-7, 11-5, 11-5) it was the same colour in women’s doubles class 14-20.

Likewise, in women’s doubles class 5-10, Brazilian colleagues Joyce Oliveira and Thais Severo emerged successful having earlier been respective gold and silver medallists in a group organised women’s singles class 3 event.

Three titles for Joyce Oliveira
Three titles for Joyce Oliveira (Photo: Dhavid Normando)

Later, on the concluding day of action, Joyce Oliveira partnered compatriot Brazilian Fabio Silva to mixed doubles class 4-7 gold and thus completed the full house, a feat matched by Chinese Taipei’s Li Jing-Shuan.

The women’s singles class 11 winner, competing in class 22, she partnered compatriots Lydia Li to women’s doubles success, Chen Po-Yen to mixed doubles gold.

Adding to titles gained earlier in proceedings, it was the same for Spain’s Ander Cepas and Chile’s Ignacio Torres.

Ander Cepas allied with teammate Jorge Cardona, the player he had beaten in the men’s singles class 9 final (11-8, 11-5, 11-8), to secure the men’s doubles class 18 title; Ignacio Torres, joined forces to win mixed doubles class 14 in harness with Florencia Perez, also from Chile.

Success for Spain and there was more as the men’s doubles events advanced.

Roberto Rodriguez partnered Francisco Lopez to men's doubles class 8 success
Roberto Rodriguez partnered Francisco Lopez to men’s doubles class 8 success

Francisco Lopez and Roberto Rodriguez secured the class 8 title, the tried and trusted partnership of Jordi Morales and Alvaro Valera prevailed in class 14, Daniel Rodriguez partnered Great Britain’s Chris Ryan to gold in class 4.

In a similar vein there was more gold for Brazil and Chinese Taipei; in the mixed doubles Carlos Moraes and Thais Severo won class 10, Israel Stroh and Jennyfer Parinos class 17.

Meanwhile, for Chinese Taipei, Lin Chung-Ting and Lin Tzu-Yu arrested the class 20 title.

Now, time for a breather before nail-biting action. Staged from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd March, the ITTF Fa20 Astana Para Open 2024 takes place in Kazakhstan, a tournament the ignites a month of four consecutive Para tournaments.

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