Jack Hunter-Spivey and Joshua Stacey made it safely through to the semi-finals of the men’s class 5 and men’s class 9 singles respectively on a tough first day at the Egypt Para Open in Ismailia.
Costa Brava Spanish Open champion Stacey was always in control in a 3-0 win against Elleingand Etche Fattoh from Cote d’Ivoire and he followed that with another comfortable 3-0 win against African Championship medallist Hossam Elsayed from Egypt. He received a walkover in his final match against Abdullah Qasem from Kuwait and as group winner received a bye into the semi-finals.
Paralympic bronze medallist Hunter-Spivey is top seed here and he began with a 3-0 win against 21-year-old Hussain Albannai from Kuwait. A 3-0 win against the African champion Ayman Kamal Abdelghafar Zenaty from Egypt sent him through to the knockout stages and as group winner he also received a bye into the semi-finals.
Dan Bullen and self-funded British athlete Simon Heaps had met twice before in international tournaments with Bullen having won them both but their most recent match in last year’s Costa Brava Spanish Open went to five sets and it was Heaps who was just the stronger today, winning in four close sets. Bullen lost his second match in men’s class 5 to former World team medallist Hassan Tolba from Egypt 3-1 and a 3-0 win in his final match against 18-year-old Fahad Abdullah from Kuwait was not enough to see him through to the knockout stages.
Heaps followed his win against Bullen with a 3-0 win against Abdullah and although he lost his final match to Tolba 3-0 he went through to tomorrow’s quarterfinals as runner-up in the group.
Self-funded Scott Robertson is competing in his first international tournament since London 2012 and the four-time Paralympian was not disgraced in his first match against Belgian World number 13 Bart Brands despite a 3-0 loss. He did not progress to the knockout stages of men’s class 5 after a 3-1 loss to the former top 10 player Ehab Fetir from Egypt.
Lee York did not progress from his group in men’s class 4 after a 3-0 loss to World number 10 and London 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist Mohamed Eid Saleh from Egypt and a great battle with Sumit Sehgal from India in which he fought back from 2-1 down to win the fourth 12-10 and level at 2-2 before losing the deciding set 11-9.
Theo Bishop had a tough opening match in men’s class 7 against World bronze medallist Sayed Youssef from Egypt but after a slow start he came back to win the second set and level at 1-1 before the World number seven went on to win 3-1. The 18-year-old did not progress from his group after a 3-0 loss to 53-year-old Saeed Al Adilee from Iraq.
Women’s class 7-8 was played in a round-robin format and Grace Williams lost her opening match to 34-year-old Samah Abdelaziz from Egypt 3-0. She kept her hopes of a medal alive with a determined 3-1 win against Dalia Zaki from Egypt but finished in fourth place after a 3-0 loss to last year’s French Open silver medallist and class 8 World number 18 Lucie Hautiere from France.