Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun and Korea Republic’s Kim Kunhea proved very much the names to note in the women’s events on the opening day of play, Thursday 3rd June at the Paralympic World Qualification Tournament in Lasko, Slovenia.
Both justified their top seeded positions to end the day unbeaten in events where only the winner of each class gains a Tokyo ticket.
A successful start for Lu Pi-Chun
Competing in class 4, Lu Pi-Chun accounted for Jordan’s Faten Elelimat (11-9, 11-6, 11-6) followed by success in opposition to Slovenia’s Andreja Dolinar (11-7, 11-4, 11-6). Similarly, in class 9 Kim Kunhea overcame Lea Ferney of France (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7) and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic (11-3, 11-4, 11-6).
Kim Kunhea has now completed her initial phase matches and progresses to the main draw; Lu Pi-Chin has one still to play, she faces Montenegro’s Slobodanka Guresic.
In all competitions where there are two stages, in the group phase, first and second qualify for the main draw.
Noteworthy performances but both were somewhat upstaged by Thailand’s Panwas Sringam. In a class 5 group organised event, following success against Israel’s Caroline Tabib (11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4), she caused one of the biggest upsets of the day; she accounted for Korea Republic’s Kang Oejeong, the top seed and women’s team class 4-5 bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The door is still open for Kang Oejeong, like Panwas Sringam, she has two matches still to play but for Japan’s Maki Ito in class 11, it is firmly closed. The top seed, she was beaten by both Ukraine’s Iryna Shynkarova (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7) and by Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic (11-3, 11-4, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the men’s events, the player to attract the attention was Japan’s Nobuhiro Minami. On duty in class 2, he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Serbia’s Boris Stoiljkovic in the closest match of the day (6-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 16-14), prior to overcoming Poland’s Tomasz Jakimczuik, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-6).
One match remaining in the group stage, for Korea Republic’s Kang Changyoung, in the same event, matters are out of his hands. The top seed, he lost to the Czech Republic’s Martin Zvolanek (7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11), prior to overcoming Spain’s Miguel Angel Toledo (11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4). In the one group match to be completed, Martin Zvolanek faces Miguel Angel Toledo.
Problems for Asian top seeds, not in class 8 nor in class 11.
In class 8 Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri beat Germany’s Joshua Wagner (11-6, 6-11, 11-3, 11-7) and Adrianus Van Amerongen of the Netherlands, to conclude his group phase matches in first place.
One match still to play, in class 11, Japan’s Koyo Kato beat Germany’s Florian Hartig (11-4, 11-4, 11-7) and Poland’s Marek Chybinski (16-14, 11-6, 13-11) to end the day unbeaten. Likewise, Korea Republic’s Kim Changgi, the no.2 seed enjoyed success; he overcame Russia’s Alexey Kudryavtsev (11-9, 11-5, 12-10) and Timothe Ivaldi of France (11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-2).
Play continues on Friday 4th June.
Editor: Ian Marshall