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Opening day shock for Tokyo gold medallist

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Published in Table Tennis
Friday, 06 May 2022 02:28

Thailand’s Thirayu Chueawong, a total outsider, caused the biggest upset on the opening day of play, Thursday 5th May, at the SQY French Para Open.

Competing in men’s singles class 2, he beat Frenchman, Fabien Lamirault, the top seed (9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9), concluding the group stage unbeaten and thus through to the quarter-finals.

The result is a complete reversal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games; in the same event, Fabien Lamirault emerged the gold medallist, Thirayu Chueawong didn’t win a single match! He finished in third place in his group behind Chile’s Luis Bustamente and Slovakia’s Martin Ludrovsky.

Players finishing in first and second positions advance to the main draw, it was to be the only defeat for Fabien Lamirault who thus progressed in runners up spot; he now meets Spain’s Iker Sastre, in the last eight, the no.3 seed.

A surprise group first place for Thirayu Chueawong, it was the same for Sweden’s Jonas Hansson in men’s singles class 7. He finished in first position in his initial phase group ahead of Brazil’s Israel Stroh, the top seed and silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Jonas Hansson remained unbeaten and duly booked a quarter-final place; Israel Stroh now meets Thailand’s Chalermpong Punpoo in round one.

Unexpected defeats

Defeat for a notable French name it was the same in the women’s singles on the opening day of action.

On duty in class 8, Thu Kamkasomphu, the top seed, gold medallist at the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, was beaten by Brazil’s Sophia Kelmer (6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5).

Unbeaten Sophia Kelmer is through to the semi-finals, Thu Kamkasomphu now faces Thailand’s Sumalee Sugtho in the quarters.

Testing times for Thu Kamkasomphu; life was even more testing for colleague, Morgan Caillaud in women’s singles class 6. The leading name on duty she experienced defeats at the hands of Sweden’s Cajsa Stadler (11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6) and Korea Republic’s Sungkeum (11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8).

Cajsa Stadler and Sungkeum are now favourites for the title; a group of five they ended the day the only unbeaten players.

Unexpected outcomes, it was no different in women’s singles class 11, Kanamani Furukawa, the top seed, was beaten by colleague, Sayuri Mio (12-10, 9-11, 14-12, 7-11, 14-12).

Unbeaten Sayura Mio advances to the penultimate round; Kanamani Furukawa meets Turkey’s Ebru Acer, the no.3 seed, in the quarter-finals.

Top seeds prevail

Otherwise, it was a successful first day of action for the top seeds.

In the men’s singles, Korea Republic’s Kim Hyeonuk (class 1) and Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk (class 4) alongside Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger (class 3) and Valentin Baus (class 5) advanced to the main draw, as did Spain’s Alvaro Valera (class 6), Japan’s Koyo Iwabuchi (class 9) and Belgium’s Florian van Acker (class 11).

Likewise, for France, it was positive for Thomas Bouvais (class 8), Mateo Boheas (class 10).

Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Brazil’s Catia Oliveira (class 1-2) underlined her top seeded status, a situation that also applied to Thailand’s Wijittra Jaion (class 4) in addition to Korea Republic’s Yoo Jiyu (class 3) and Jung Younga (class 5).

Similarly, Turkey’s Kubra Korkut (class 7), Neslihan Kavas (class 9) and Merve Demir (class 10) proved their worth.

The men’s singles and women’s singles events conclude on Friday 6th May.

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