Local hope Simon Cruz Mondejar stayed in sight of qualifying for the knock-out rounds of the Spanish Para-Badminton International 2018 with a morale-boosting victory late on the opening day.
The Spaniard lost his first match of SL 3 Men’s Singles in Group B to second seed David Bethell (England) in the morning session, but ensured that he stayed alive in the group with a 21-12 21-12 victory in the evening session over Germany’s Bob Biesmans.
“I’m happy with the victory as it gives me a good chance to qualify for the main draw,” said Mondejar. “I knew he was a tough opponent, he’s tall and has a big smash. I was ready for that and wanted to keep him at the net. I knew I could contain him if I controlled the game at the net. We’ve played three times earlier and I won all three but each of those matches was tough. I feel so much at ease as I’m playing at home – there are a lot of familiar faces and a lot of support. This is the first tournament of the season and it’s good to get early momentum as I feel I’ve been getting better, little by little, over the last few months.”
In Group A, top seed Daisuke Fujihara (Japan) got off to a strong start beating England’s William Smith, 21-13 21-5, while in Group E, India’s Umesh Vikram Kumar assured himself of qualification winning both his matches on the day. England’s Mark Waller also qualified from the group winning two matches; the last contest between Kumar and Waller will decide the group winner. Other contenders, including Peru’s Pedro Pablo De Vinatea, chalked up opening victories. There are five groups in Men’s Singles SL 3, and top two players of each group will qualify to the Round of 16.
One of the closest matches of the day was in Group E of SS 6 Men’s Singles – Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Tavares breasted the tape just ahead of France’s Fabien Morat, 18-21 21-18 22-20, helping the Brazilian to second spot on the group with one match left. England’s Isaak Dalglish leads the four-man group with two wins, with Morat third and Peru’s Hector Jesus Salva Tunque fourth.
In Women’s Doubles WH 1 – WH 2, top seeds Sujirat Pookkham and Amnouy Wetwithan (Thailand) breezed into the quarter-finals winning both their Group A matches in straight games. The Thais beat Japan’s Etsuko Kobayashi/Rie Ogura 21-9 21-15 and Sonja Haesler (Switzerland)/Pilar Jaurequi Cancino (Peru) 21-8 21-7 to top the group.
Second seeds Ikume Fuke/Yuma Yamazaki also qualified with ease, winning their three Group B matches in straight games. Significantly, the Japanese enjoyed a 21-5 21-13 result over last year’s bronze medallists Karin Suter-Erath/Cynthia Mathez, who finished second in the group.
In Mixed Doubles WH 1 – WH 2, the second-seeded pair of Korea’s Kim Jungjun and Turkey’s Emine Seckin emerged on top of Group B beating Israel’s Amir Levi/Nina Gorodetzky in three games and Gobi Ranganathan (England) and Henriett Koosz (Austria) in two.
Top seeds Jakarin Homhaul/Amnouy Wetwithan had an easier passage to the quarter-finals as they won both their Group A matches in straight games.