Seeding Upsets as China Adds to Impressive Title Haul in Slovenia
China’s Gao Ningning and ZHANG Yuan, alongside colleagues Fang Pengfeng and ZHAO Ping, were very much the players in form in the Men’s Team events on the concluding day of action, Saturday 7th May, at the Thermana Lasko 2016 Slovenia Para Open. Both partnerships upset the seeding to emerge victorious in their respective events.
The no.3 seeds, GAO Ningning and ZHANG Yuan secured the Class 5 title, FANG Pengfeng and ZHAO Ping, the no.2 seeds, emerged successful in Class 3.
GAO Ningning and ZHANG Yuan beat the French combination of Maxime THOMAS, Florian MERRIEN and Nicolas SAVANT-AIRA, the no.2 seeds, by two matches to one at the semi-final stage, before overcoming the top seeded Turkish partnership of Abdullah OZTURK and Nesim TURAN by a similar margin to claim the title.
An impressive performance from GAO Ningning and ZHANG Yuan, it was even more impressive from FANG Pengfeng and ZHAO Ping.
After overcoming the Czech Republic partnership of Jiri SUCHANEK and Peter SVATOS by two matches to nil in the penultimate round, they recorded the same margin of victory against the top seeded German partnership of Tomas BRÜCHLE and Thomas SCHMIDBERGER to arrest the title.
Two winners in the Men’s Team event against expectations and there were three more. Germany’s Holger NIKELIS and Switzerland’s Sylvio KELLER emerged as the winners of Class 1 following the withdrawal of Great Britain’s Paul DAVIES and Robert DAVIES.
Also against expectations in Class 6 it was the top prize for Croatia’s Pavao JOZIC and Vjekoslav GREGOROVIC; in the group stage of proceedings they had beaten the combination of Thailand’s Rungroj THAINIYOM and Italy’s Raimondo ALECCI by two matches to nil, in the final they did exactly the same.
A repeat performance by Pavao JOZIC and Vjekoslav GREGOROVIC, for Ukraine’s Sergio BOYKO and Yuriy SHCHPEPANSKYY in Class 9 it was a revenge performance.
In the group stage they had experienced a two-nil defeat at the hands of the top seeded combination formed by China’s ZHAO Yiqing and Hong Kong’s WONG Chin Yin; in the final they met again and life was very different. The Ukrainians recorded a two-one win.
An unexpected outcome in the final; in Class 11 it was an unexpected outcome in the concluding contest in a group organised event. Spain’s Eduardo CUESTA and Austria’s Samuel Von EINEM combined to beat the top seeded pairing of Hungary’s Peter PALOS and Ukraine’s Andrii NAVROTSKYI to claim the top prize.
Surprise winners, in the remaining Men’s Team event in Lasko, the top seeds prevailed. It was gold for Frenchmen Fabien LAMIRAULT and Stéphane MOLLIENS (Class 2), Poland’s Krszysztof ZYLKA and Rafal LIS (Class 4), as it was for Spain’s Alvaro VALERA and Jordi MORALES (Class 7).
Also, in a likewise manner there was gold for Ukraine’s Viktor DIDUKH and Malksym NIKOLENKO (Class 8) in addition to China’s MA Lin and GE Yang (Class 10).
Three titles for China in the Men’s Team event, there were six more in the counterpart Women’s Team competition.
In the Wheelchair classes it was success for LI Qian, XUE Juan and LIU Jing (Class 3), ZHOU Ying and Zhang Miao (Class 4) as well as for ZHANG Bian and Gu Cai (Class 5).
Likewise, there was success in the Standing Classes. It was gold for MA Jingdian, PAN Mengyi, WANG Rui (Class 8), XIONG Guiyan and LIU Meng (Class 9) and for YANG Qian and LEI Lina (Class 10).
Success as predicted, it was the same in Class 6-7 as well as in Class 11 in the Women’s Team event but not in Class 1-2.
Competing in Class 1-2, Italy’s Giada ROSSI and Clara PODDA experienced defeat in their concluding contest in a group organised event. They were beaten by the top seeded combination of Russia’s Nadejda PUSHPASHEVA and Israel’s Chagit BrIll; they experienced a two matches to one defeat.
However, the previous day, the partnership formed by Isabelle Lafaye of France and Argentina’s Maria GARONNE had beaten Nadejda PUSHPASHEVA and Israel’s Chagit BRILL by two matches to nil but had then experienced defeat by the same margin in opposition to Giada Rossi and Clara PODDA.
Match ratio between the three teams decided; thus it was first place for Giada ROSSI and Clara PODDA (3:2) with Isabelle LAFAYE and Maria GARONNE in second position (2:2) ahead of Nadejda PUSHPASHEVA and Chagit BRILL (2:3).
A surprise success; not in Class 6-7 where Kelly Van ZON of the Netherlands and Turkey’s Kubra KORKUT of the Netherland combined to clinch gold, nor in Class 11, an event that witnessed success for Poland’s Krystyna SIEMIENIECKA and Dorota NOWACKA.
Proceedings concluded in Lasko, the next tournament on the Para calendar is the Slovakia Open; play starts in Bratislava on Wednesday 11th May.
By: Ian Marshall Courtesy of ITTF