28 May 2024

Final Day Showdown: Paris Spots Up for Grabs

The ITTF Paralympic World Qualification Tournament 2024 in Pattaya has been full of surprises, with top contenders stumbling right from the opening day. The drama continued on Friday, 24th May.

In the men’s singles events, Great Britain’s top seeds faced unexpected quarter-final defeats. In class 1, Tom Matthews was defeated by Italy’s Andrea Borgato (11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-2), while in class 9, Ross Wilson fell to China’s Liu Chaodong (12-10, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9). Borgato now advances to face Mexico’s second seed, Victor Reyes, while Liu takes on Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi, also a second seed.

In contrast, it was a day of recovery for Serbia’s Mitar Palikuca in class 5 and Thailand’s Thirayu Chuewong in class 2. Both top seeds rebounded from earlier defeats to secure their semi-final places. Chuewong triumphed over Spain’s second seed Daniel Rodriguez (11-5, 11-9, 11-8), while Palikuca defeated Indonesia’s Tato Hardiyanto (11-9, 11-7, 11-8).

Palikuca’s victory sets up a potential final against Great Britain’s Jack Hunter-Spivey, a bronze medallist from Tokyo. Hunter-Spivey will face Brazil’s Lucas Arabian, who ended Turkey’s Hamza Caliskan’s impressive run in the quarter-finals (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5). Caliskan had earlier caused a major upset by defeating Palikuca (14-12, 11-8, 11-8).

Mixed fortunes were seen among the leading names. Croatia’s Mladen Ciric and France’s Sylvain Noel, top players in class 3, advanced smoothly, as did China’s Shi Yanping and Poland’s Krzysztof Zylka in class 4. In class 10, Chinese Taipei’s Su Jin-Sian and Chile’s Manuel Echaveguran secured their spots in the penultimate round.

Safe progress for Matias Pino (Photo: Chanya Charoenmit)
Safe progress for Matias Pino (Photo: Chanya Charoenmit)

In class 6, Chile’s Matias Pino will face Sweden’s Michael Azulay, while in class 8, Croatia’s Borna Zohil meets Hungary’s Andras Csoka. Both Azulay and Zohil had finished as runners-up in their respective groups one day earlier.

For Poland’s Michal Deigsler, the second seed in class 7, the quarter-finals marked the end of his journey as he was bested by Thailand’s Suriyone Thapeng (11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10). Meanwhile, in class 11, top seed Maciej Makajew faces a crucial final match against Japan’s unbeaten Takeshi Takamori, having suffered a defeat to France’s Timothe Vivaldi (11-6, 4-11, 13-11, 11-5). This match will determine who secures a place in Paris.

In the women’s singles, the upsets continued. Turkey’s Hatice Dulman, the top seed in class 3, was edged out by Thailand’s Patamawadee Intanon in a thrilling semi-final (9-11, 11-9, 15-13, 6-11, 11-8). Intanon will now meet Mexico’s second seed, Edith Sigala, in the final.

In class 6, neither of the top two seeds, Romania’s Camelia Ciripan nor Korea’s Lee Kunwoo, advanced beyond the group stage. The spotlight now turns to Tokyo silver medallist Maliak Alieva, who will face Poland’s Barbara Jablonka in the semi-final, while Sweden’s Cajsa Stadler takes on Hong Kong’s Pang Wing in the opposite half of the draw.

Most leading names remain in contention. In class 1-2, Argentina’s Maria Garonne and Serbia’s Ana Zelen are still on course, as are Thailand’s Wijittra Jaion and Turkey’s Irem Oluk in class 4. In class 7, Mexico’s Giselle Muñoz and independent athlete Victoriya Safanova have secured their semi-final spots, as have Brazil’s Sophia Kelmer and the Netherlands’ Frederique van Hoof in class 8.

A semi-final place for Sofia Kelmer
Sophia Kelmer will face Thailand’s Kanlaya Chaiwut-Kriabklang in the semi-final on the final day. (Photo: Chanya Charoenmit)

Israel’s Caroline Tabib is through to the semi-final in class 5, but for Sweden’s Ingela Lundbäck, the Tokyo bronze medallist and second seed, the tournament ended in the group stage. Independent athlete Elena Prokofeva, Tokyo gold medallist, will face Turkey’s Sumeyra Turk in the semi-final, while the Czech Republic’s Denisa Macurova meets Chinese Taipei’s Li Jing-Shuian in the other semi-final.

Perhaps the most exciting showdown will be in women’s singles class 10, an all-play-all event. Japan’s Nozomi Nakamura, the top seed, suffered a defeat against Sweden’s Anja Handen (10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5). Handen had earlier lost to China’s Hou Chunxiao (11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9). Nakamura and Hou Chunxiao will now face off in the final match, with Nakamura needing a win to secure her spot in Paris.

One day remains, and with it, a day of destiny. Every match is a battle for a place in Paris, and the tension is palpable. The final day promises high-octane action and unforgettable moments as the journey to Paris reaches its dramatic conclusion. Don’t miss the thrilling finale and catch it live on ITTF’s YouTube.

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