Gold medallists four years ago when the tournament was staged in the Chinese capital city of Beijing, at the 2018 ITTF World Para Championships, competing in the Men’s Singles wheelchair categories, Frenchman Fabien Lamirault, China’s Feng Panfeng and Turkey’s Nesim Turan kept their hopes of a repeat success alive following their efforts on Friday 19th October.
In Class 2, in the penultimate round, Fabien Lamirault, the top seed, meets the Czech Republic’s Jiri Suchanek; in the opposite half of the draw, compatriot Stéphane Molliens opposes Poland’s Rafal Czuper.
Similarly, in Class 3, Feng Panfeng, the no.2 seed, meets Germany’s Thomas Brüchle, the no.3 seed; the latter’s colleague, Thomas Schmidberger, the top seed, faces China’s Zhai Xiang.
Determined to retain their titles; nowhere was that more evident than in Class 4. Nesim Turan, the no.4 seed, recorded a quarter-final win over Korea Republic’s Kim Younggun, the top seed (11-3, 12-10, 13-11); likewise, in the penultimate round, his semi-final opponent, China’s Zhang Yan upset the order of merit. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Frenchman, Maxime Thomas, the no.3 seed (3-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-6). Awaiting in the final, in the adjacent half of the draw, Slovakia’s Boris Travnicek faces Abdullah Ozturk, the no.2 seed and like Nesim Turan from Turkey.
Penultimate round places for the top seeds, it was the same in Class 1 and in Class 5 but there were upsets.
The biggest casualty was Great Britain’s Rob Davies, the Rio Paralympic Games gold medallist; the no.2 seed in Class 1, he was beaten in the opening round by Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamente (6-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-7). However, the euphoria was short-lived, in the next round, the quarter-finals, the South American experienced defeat at the hands of Korea Republic’s Joo Youngdae, the top seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-7). In the penultimate round, Joo Youngdae meets Great Britain’s Tom Matthews, the no.5 seed; in the opposite half of the draw Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt confronts Korea Republic’s Kim Hyeonuk.
Notably at the quarter-final stage, Kim Hyeonuk beat Hungary’s Endre Major, the no.3 seed (13-11, 14-12, 11-6); Fernando Eberhardt ended the aspirations of Korea Republic’s Nam Kiwon, the no.4 seed (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in Class 5, the player to upset the order of merit was Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ming-Chih; in the round of the last eight names, he accounted for Serbia’s Mitar Palikuca, the no.3 seed (11-9, 13-11, 11-9). In the penultimate round, Cheng Ming-Chih meets China’s Cao Ningning, the top seed; Norway’s Tommy Urhaug, the no.2 seed, opposes Turkey’s Ali Ozturk, the no.4 seed.
Play in Lasko Celje concludes on Saturday 20th October.