Finland’s Timo Natunen, Norway’s Sebastian Vegsund and Denmark’s David Olsson, alongside Japan’s Hayuma Abe and Poland’s Krystyna Lysiak, were the players who caught the eye as proceedings began in Ostrava during the Three-day Czech Para Open on Thursday 23rd June.
In the initial group stage, with the players finishing in first and second positions qualifying for the knockout stage, all went undefeated, and more importantly, all represented the top-ranked opponents.
In class 1 men’s singles, Timo Natunen counted for the Briton Rob Davies, gold medalist of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (14-12, 11-8, 11-8), duly reserving a place in the semi-finals.
Alas for Rob Davies, it wasn’t the best of days; in the quarter-finals, he was beaten by Korean Kim Hakjin (14-12, 11-8, 11-8).
Kim Hakjin now faces another British opponent in the guise of Tom Matthews; in the corresponding semi-final, Timo Natunen faces the Italian Federico Falco.
Similarly, in men’s singles, in class 4, Sebastian Vegsund beat the Slovak Boris Travincek (11-4, 16-14, 9-11, 12-14, 11-8), in class 5, David Olsson beat the Indonesian Tatok Hardiyanto (15-13, 11-5, 11-8), in class 9, Hayuma Abe defeated Ukrainian Ivan Mai (13-15, 15-13, 15-13, 11-6).
Sebastian Vegsund, David Olsson and Hayuma Abe duly finished the day unbeaten; title hope alive; alas, in the main draw Boris Travincek, Tatok Hariyanto and Ivan Mai met the same fate as Rob Davies.
Boris Travincek lost to the Indonesian Adyos Astan (11-2, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9), Tatok Hardiyanto was beaten by the Japanese Kentaro Doi (15-13, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9), for Ivan Mai, Koyo Iwabuchi, also from Japan, ended the progression (12-10, 11-5, 16-14).
Koyo Iwabuchi now faces the British Josh Stacey in the quarter-finals, at the same time Hayuma Abe faces the Hungarian Dezso Bereczki. One round later, Sebastian Vegsund takes on Slovak Peter Mihalik, Adyos Astan takes on host nation Filip Nachazel.
Also, in the semi-final, David Olsson meets his colleague Isak Nyholm, Kentaro Doi is against Sam Roelofs of the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, in women’s singles, the storyline was no different; in class 11, Poland put an end to the hopes of Ukrainian Natalya Kosmina. In the group stage, she lost to Krystyna Lysiak (11-9, 12-10, 5-1, 11-9), in the quarter-finals to Dorota Nowacka (7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11 – 8).
In the semi-finals, Krystyna Lysiak meets the French Anne Divet, the Turkish Ebru Acer awaits Dorota Nowacka.
Best Seeds Progress
The End of Adventures for Five Seeds; for the rest, a day without defeat.
In the single men’s wheelchair, the Frenchman Fabien Lamirault (class 2), the Swede Carl Ohgren (class 3) remained undefeated as in the standing events the Dane Peter Rosenmeier (class 6), the Briton Will Bayley (class 7), the Ukrainian Viktor Didukh (class 8) and the Pole Patryk Chojnowski (class 10).
Not to be overshadowed, it was a successful day for Frenchman Antoine Zhao (class 11).
Similarly, in women’s singles, Finland’s Aina Tapola (class 1), Slovakia’s Alena Kanova (class 2-3) and Ukraine’s Maryna Lytovchenko (class 6) all secured places in the penultimate round, a situation that applied to the Japanese Yuri Tomono (class 8). and the Polish Natalia Partyka (class 10).
Quite differently, in the group-administered events, there were unblemished records for Britain’s Sue Bailey (class 4), Korea’s Jung Younga (class 5), Sweden’s Agnes Sand (class 7) and Poland’s Karolina Pek ( class 9).
The men’s singles and women’s singles matches end on Friday 24e June.