Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Australia's Qian Yang stuns Polish star Natalia Partyka

Yang sets up a title clash with Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre   28 Aug 2021
Qian Yang
BIG WIN: Qian Yang of Australia in action.
ⒸLintao Zhang/Getty Images

Poland’s star paddler Natalia Partyka's reign has come to an end.

A gold medallist since 2004 Athens, Partyka had simply ruled the roost in the women’s single class 10 ever since and remained the undisputed queen of the Games till date.

However, on Saturday, she finally met her match in Australian Qian Yang, who was more robust and determined to end the dominance of the reigning champion.

Yang won the absorbing contest 3-2 (11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9) but not before being stretched in the deciding fifth.

Trailing 5-2, Yang showed tremendous guile to outsmart her rival and snatched few quick points to take a two-point edge (9-7). And once Yang had that lead, she never let it slip.

“I was trailing by quite a lot, so my approach was I’ll take whatever points that come my way. I was just thinking of taking one point at a time,” said a delighted Yang, who attributed her success to the hard work she had put in the run-up to the Games.

“We had a good game plan and I played well. I’m really very happy because I’ve never beaten her before,” revealed Yang, who will be meeting Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre. The latter rallied from a game down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Tien Shiau Wen 3-1 (12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7).

Natalia Partyka

An utterly dejected Partyka felt, her game was error prone and that cost her dearly.

“I was leading, I made easy mistakes, I became nervous, but she played well. I lost today but I have won four times so that shows I am a good player.”

"Sometimes players lose even if they are leading, and it's annoying when this happens to me, but sometimes s**t happens, right? She played really good. I felt like I was better in the last game. But anyway, we are playing till 11 and not till nine points so I have to somehow survive this.

“I just wish her (Yang) good luck in the final. Finally she can beat someone in the final, not me. She took her revenge. We met already a million times in the final. So yeah, at least this final is going to be without me. It's not going to be boring any more.”

In the men’s singles class 7, Great Britain’s Will Bayley saved a match point in the deciding fifth game to beat China’s Keli Liao 3-2 (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8).

Bayley in the title clash will meet China’s Yan Shuo, who defeated Poland’s Maksym Chudzicki 3-0 (11-4, 12-10, 11-7).

In the women’s singles class 4, the 34-year-old Bhavinaben Patel became the first Indian to enter the final of a table tennis event after a hard-fought 3-2 (7-11 11-7 11-4 9-11 11-8) win over China's Miao Zhang.

“When I came here, I just thought that I would give my 100 per cent without thinking of anything. If you give 100 per cent, the medal will come.

“If I continue with this confidence, with the blessings of the people of my country, I think I will win gold tomorrow. I am ready for the final and I have to give 100 per cent in the final also,” said Patel.