Will Bayley won his second gold medal at the US Para Open in Fort Worth today, combining with Theo Bishop to win the men’s class 14 doubles, and 19-year-old Max Flint won gold in the mixed class 20 doubles with Gloria Wong Sze from Malaysia. Ross Wilson and Shae Thakker took silver in men’s class 18 with Ryan Henry and Max Flint taking bronze.
Men’s class 14
Will Bayley and Theo Bishop topped their group after wins against Matthew Britz from New Zealand and Miguel Castro from Colombia (3-0), Ian Seidenfeld and Masoud Mojtahed from USA (3-2) and Tristan Myrick and Yosef Lender from USA (3-0). They beat the French pair of Kevin Dourbecker and Stephane Messi 3-1 in the semi-finals and then took the gold after beating Matias Pino Lorca and Ignacio Torres Orostica from Chile in the final 3-0.
“I think the tournament went well overall,” said Bishop. “I had big chances in my first singles match against a top 10 player in Pereira Stroh and unfortunately couldn’t get over the line, but I think I played some good stuff. I was really disappointed with my match against Dourbecker but it was a great learning experience and I feel I took a lot away from it. Going into the doubles it was great to play with someone of Will’s level and experience. I didn’t always play my best, but I feel that I played well in the big moments and also had confidence that I could rely on Will to do what was needed. Overall, I’m really pleased.”
“I enjoyed playing with Theo,” said Bayley. “He’s a good guy and works so hard in training so I’m happy for him – he deserves it.”
Men’s class 18
Ross Wilson and Shae Thakker went through to the knockout stages as group winners after 3-0 wins against Cole Rothenberger and George Ristollari from USA and Angel Castro and Enrique Preza from Mexico. They beat Gabriel Seguin from Canada and Randall Medcalf from USA 3-0 in the quarterfinal and progressed to the final with a 3-0 win against teammates Max Flint and Ryan Henry. They fought back from 2-1 down to level at 2-2 in the final against Logan Watson and Tahl Leibovitz but the American pair took the deciding set 11-5 to take the gold.
Max Flint and Ryan Henry lost 3-2 to Watson and Leibovitz but went through to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 win against Kevin Rivera Rios and Edwin Rojas from Puerto Rica. They beat Marco Makkar and Jerry Vasquez from USA 3-0 before losing to Wilson and Thakker in the semi-final.
“I feel I played a lot better than my last few competitions and overall, I’m pleased with how I played in all my matches,” said Henry, who took silver in the men’s class 8 singles yesterday, losing to Wilson in the final. “I’m happy to have made the final in the singles and to get to play Ross – it was great experience as he is one of the best in the world and it’s always good to be able to compete against better players. I’m happy with how I performed in the final – Ross just had too much quality, but I have plenty to take back home to work on in training.
“In the doubles Max and I worked well together. We were unfortunate to lose our first game to the top-seeded Americans in five sets, but we bounced back with two good performances to make the semi-finals. There were definitely some things to take back and work on in the future, but Ross and Shae played very well and didn’t let us off the hook with any mistakes or weak play.”
Joe Crouse and his American partner Muhammad Pirzada lost 3-0 to Marco Makkar and Jerry Vasquez from USA but also progressed from their group after a 3-0 win against Renato Santos and Matheus Dutra Barsotti De Freitas from Brazil and a walkover against Asad Syed and Ian Kent from Canada. They lost 3-1 in the quarterfinal to Manuel Echaveguren Farias and Claudio Bahamondes Vega from Chile.
Mixed class 20 RR
Max Flint and his Malaysian partner Gloria Wong Sze beat Manuel Echaveguren Farias and Ailyn Espinoza Perez from Chile 3-0, Matthias Yeh and Trulir Hector from Canada 3-0 and secured the gold with a 3-2 win against Shae Thakker and Grace Williams.
“I’m very happy to win my first international medals,” said Flint, who also took silver in the men’s class 10 singles yesterday. “There were many ups and downs, but I was proud of my overall performance and impressed that I managed to stay resilient and keep focused moving into the later rounds after losing a match in my group 3-2.”
Thakker and Williams started with a 3-1 win against Yeh and Hector but finished out of the medals after losing 3-2 to Echaveguren Farias and Espinoza Perez.
Men’s class 8
Jack Hunter-Spivey and Romain Simon lost 3-1 to Maximiliano Rodriguez Avila and Cristian Gonzalez Astete from Chile but went through to the knockout stages as group runners-up after winning 3-0 against Muhammad Mudassar and Peter Isherwood from Canada, and 3-1 against Zachary Pickett and Zachary Wentz from USA. They lost a very close quarterfinal to Francois Geuljans and Yorick Adjal from France 3-2.
Chris Ryan and Lee York did not progress from their group after losing to Jesus Sanchez Garcia and Victor Reyes Turcio from Mexico 3-0, David Gabriel and Chen Baruch from Israel 3-2 and Ahad Sarand and Jenson Van Emburgh from USA 3-0.
“I’m really pleased with how the tournament went on reflection,” said Ryan, who continued the promising start to his table tennis career by taking bronze in the men’s class 1-2 singles yesterday. “To have had three wins from where I am in my progression is really positive and getting the chance to play Riapos in the semi-final was a match I can look back on and try and learn from. He has a crazy amount of experience, and I will try and take everything I can from watching him on the video.”
York also took bronze in the men’s class 4 singles yesterday and said: “I feel that I have improved a lot recently and am so near to going to the next level. I feel that I can compete with the top 30 players in the world and my results are beginning to show that. When I am playing matches I am more comfortable, for example slowing down the pace if needs be whereas before I would rush too much and feel awkward when I wanted to change the rhythm. This was also my first tournament playing with long pimples on my forehand and I believe this could be a move in the right direction.”
Simon Heaps and his Colombian partner Luis Alberto Valencia Henao beat Asad Murtaza from Canada and Hakon Bjarkason from Iceland 3-0 but also went out at the group stage after losing 3-1 to Geuljans and Adjal and 3-0 to Ahmed Koleosho and Emmanuel Nick from Nigeria.