Gold medallist in 2019 at the Para Pan American Games in Lima and later in the year at the Copa Costa Rica, Cuba’s Yunier Fernandez added to his collection of titles at the ITTF Copa Tango in Buenos Aires on Friday 8th July.
The one title to be decided on the opening day of action, competing in men’s singles class 1, in a group organised event the 39 year old upset the order of merit; the third highest rated player on duty, he finished ahead of Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt, Great Britain’s Rob Davies, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medallist, and Chile’s Vicente Leiva.
“I was under a lot of pressure because I had two very difficult rivals; until today I had never played Davies. I used my serve very intelligently; I think that was a plus point in my game. Something to correct is that I should play happier and enjoy myself more at the table. I’m very serious in a match”.
I can’t stop thanking my coach who is with me in the good times and the bad; my people from Cuba, who accompanied me so that I can achieve this world place”. Yunier Fernandez
Surprise First Places
Success contrary to predictions for Yunier Fernandez; in the group stage of proceedings in the men’s singles events it was the same for Frenchman Yorick Adjal, Chile’s Cristian Gonzalez and Brazil’s Claudio Massad. All ended the day unbeaten, all reserved semi-final places; most significantly all caused major upsets by defeating top seeded opponents.
Notably Yorick Adjal beat Argentina’s Mazimiliano Medina (11-2, 11-5, 11-7), Cristian Gonzalez overcame Brazil’s Alexandre Macieira (8-11,11-9, 11-5, 11-8); Claudio Massad accounted Javier Russo, like Maximiliano Medina, also from Argentina (11-3, 11-3, 11-4).
Alas for Javier Russo, it was third place in the group and thus the end of the road; for Mazimiliano Medina and Alexandre Macieira, runners up spot and progress to the penultimate round.
Otherwise, it was an unbeaten opening day for the leading names.
In the men’s singles, Chile’s Luis Bustamente (class 2), Argentina’s Elias Romero (class 5) and Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak (class 6) all enjoyed a success as did the Brazilian trio comprising Paulo Salmin (class 7), Luiz Manara (class 8) and Lucas Carvalho (class 9).
Brazil to the fore, it was the same in the women’s singles. Providing the top seeded player in each event, it was a day without blemish. Thais Sever0 (class 2-5), Sophia Kelmer (class 7-8) and Bruna Alexandre (class 9-10) all justified their exalted positions.
Play in the men’s singles and women’s singles concludes on Saturday 9th July.