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Para-Table Tennis stars shine at 2022 Spanish Para Open

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Table Tennis Australia stars had great success at the 2022 Spanish Para Open where the team finished the three-day event with seven medals – four gold and three bronze.

Day 3 – 26 March

Lina Lei and Qian Yang have continued their golden run at the Spanish Para Open with victory in the Class WS20 Women’s Doubles.

After topping their group standings – winning all their matches 3-0 – the Aussie duo advanced to the semi-final.

Lei and Yang showed their skill and talent against Turkish duo Merve Demir and Neslihan Kavas with an 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 win to put themselves in the final.

Coming face-to-face with Poland’s Natalia Partyka and Karolina Pek, who Lei and Yang had beat in their respective women’s singles finals yesterday, there was no doubt it was going to be another enthralling match.

After the Polish pair took the first game 11-7, Lei and Yang rattled off three straight games to secure Australia’s fourth gold medal of the event.

Earlier in the day, Yang had paired with Ma Lin for the mixed doubles class XS20 to win gold after topping their group.

Two other Aussie pairs also made it to the knockout stages including Lei and Nathan Pellissier in the Class XS17 Mixed Doubles before the latter of that pair also joined Ma Lin in the Class MS18 Men’s Doubles.

In the Class MS18 Men’s Doubles, Lin and Pellissier finished second in their group to secure a spot in the quarter-finals, where they met Aaron McKibbin and Billy Shilton of Great Britain.

The Aussie pair were able to take the first game 11-8 before the Tokyo 2020 Class C8 Men’s Teams bronze medallists took the next three to oust Lin and Pellissier.

For Pellissier and Lei in the Class XS17 Mixed Doubles, where they topped their group without dropping a match, they continued their fine form into the knockout stages.

Securing a 3-0 win in their quarter-final match against Ross Wilson and Grace Williams, they found themselves in a semi-final against Pek and Piotr Grudzien.

The Polish pair had the upperhand throughout the match, taking it 3-0 to end Lei and Pellissier run but the Aussies still secured a bronze medal for their efforts.

Day 2 – 25 March

It was a golden night in Platja dÁro, Spain with Lina Lei and Qian Yang winning gold in their events at the Spanish Para Open.

Yang brought home the first gold medal of the day in the Class 10 Women’s Singles.

After bettering teammate Melissa Tapper, who would take bronze, 3-0 in the semi-final, she met five-time Paralympian and the ever dominant Natalia Partyka in the final.

In a five-game thriller, where it was hard to separate the two, Yang would prevail 11-6 in the fifth to hand the Polish athlete just her second loss in a Para event since 2008.

Over in the Class 9 Women’s Singles, Lina Lei won her semi-final against Hungary’s Alexa Szvitacs, a re-match of their Tokyo 2020 semi-final, to secure her place in the final.

Coming face-to-face with Poland’s Karolina Pek,  it was set to be another gripping match.

Lei managed to take the first two games 11-5 before Pek won a tight third before taking the fourth.

It was an edge of your seat fifth as both players tried to find a way around their opponents’ tactics but it was Lei who came out on top, winning the game 12-10.

Australia also picked up bronze in the Class 9 Women’s Singles after Ma Lin went down to Great Britain’s Joshua Stacey in a semi-final that went to five games.

After going down 9-11 in the opening game, Lin, a two-time Paralympic silver medallist, was able to win the next two before Stacey won a close fourth and fifth to seal his spot in the final.

The men’s, women’s and mixed doubles event also kicked off overnight with some great wins. Group matches will continue before finals take place later in the day.

 

Day 1 – 24 March

Australia jumped into competition at the ready with five players making the quarterfinals.

It will be an all Aussie semi-final in the Class 10 Women’s Singles when Melissa Tapper and Qian Yang face each other later today for a spot in the final.

Tapper finished second in her group behind six-time Paralympic gold medallist Natalia Partyka while Yang topped the standings in the other group, winning all her matches without dropping a game.

After finishing first in her group, Lina Lei will have a re-match of her Tokyo 2020 semi-final with Alex Szitacs of Hungary for a place in the final of the Class 9 Women’s Singles.

It was a five-game battle the last time the two met, with the Australian progressing to the final after winning three consecutive games.

Meanwhile, Ma Lin is the last Aussie man in the singles competition after finishing second in his group with two out of three wins and will take on 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Joshua Stacey of Great Britain in the Class 9 Men’s Singles semi-final.

Earlier in the day, Nathan Pellissier, who had finished second in his group in Class 8 Men’s Singles and advanced to the quarterfinal, fell at the hands of Piotr Grudzien.

The Tokyo 2020 silver medallist came back fighting in the third game but wasn’t able to overcome the Polish players’ 2-0 advantage.

Kurt Fearnley Scholarship holder Jessy Chen, Danni Di Toro, Caleb Crowden, Amanda Tscharke, Lenny Properjohn and Chris Addis all fought valiantly in their classes group games but were unable to advance further.

Looking ahead, Friday is set to be another busy day for the team.

Alongside a handful of semi-finals, the group stages of the mixed, women’s and men’s doubles are set to get underway in the afternoon with Australian players featuring heavily across the events.

 

With thanks Table Tennis Australia.

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