A day of intense action on Friday 27th August at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as semi-final places were decided; the difference to previous editions being that a penultimate round place guarantees a medal, there is no dreaded bronze medal play-off.
Emotion ran high in the Metropolitan Arena, there were many fine performances but one in particular stood above the rest; the efforts of India’s Bhavinaben Patel eclipsed all others.
At the quarter-final stage of play, she beat Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic, the defending champion, the gold medallist, now approaching five years ago, in Rio de Janeiro.
Moreover, she beat the experienced Serbian in three straight games (11-5, 11-6, 11-7); the happiest man in Tokyo and for that matter in the whole of Japan was her husband. He not only plays a caring domestic role, he is also her coach.
A quite stunning win and somewhat out of the blue.
She finished in second position in her group, beating Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton (11-7, 9-11, 17-15, 13-11) but losing to China’s Zhou Ying, the top seed (11-3, 11-9, 11-2).
Second position in the group meant a place in the main draw; in the opening round she accounted for Brazil’s Joyce de Oliveira (12-10, 13-11, 11-6) before in true Churchillian terms enjoying her finest hour.
At the semi-final stage Zhou You meets Guo Xiaodan, Bhavinaben Patel opposes Zhang Miao.
One round earlier Zhou You had inflicted more pain on Serbia by beating Nada Matic, the bronze medallist in Rio de Janeiro (11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9).
In the opposite half of the draw, Zhang Miao, the silver medallist in Rio de Janeiro had beaten Germany’s Sandra Mikolaschek in four games (11-2, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9), by a similar margin, Guo Xiaodan had ended the hopes of Chinese Taipei’s Li Pi-China (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-2).
The semi-finals and finals will be played on Saturday 28th August.
Editor: Ian Marshall