Indian paddler Bhavina Patel created history at the Tokyo Paralympics, becoming the first Indian paddler to reach the finals in table tennis at the Paralympics. Bhavina Patel registered a gutsy victory over the world no. 3 Zhang Miao of China in the women’s singles class 4 event.
Patel, ranked 12th in the world started her Paralympics journey in group A, where she faced defeat 0-3 in the first round after a tough fight against world no. 1 Zhou Ying of China. She maintained her composure in the next match and went on to clinch victory in a must win match against world no. 9 Megan Shackleton of Great Britain.
Patel took the first set 11-7, but went on to lose the second set 9-11. The Indian fought back however, and went on to win a long third set 17-15. She sealed the deal in the fourth set, and claimed victory with 13-11 to enter the round of 16.
The pre quarterfinals saw Patel go up against Joyce de Oliveira of Brazil, the world no. 8. Patel dominated throughout the game, taking straight sets and winning comfortably with 12-10, 13-11, 11-6. The world no. 12 had a tough battle ahead of her, as she took on world no. 2 and Rio Paralympics gold medallist Borislava Rancovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals.
Bhavina Patel Wins Quarterfinals and Semifinals with ease; Beats World no. 2 and 3 in Stellar Performance
Bhavina was up for the challenge in the quarterfinals, as she continued to give it her 100%. The Indian took the first set quickly, winning 11-5. Bhavina seemed unstoppable, and went on to clinch the title win straight sets, 11-6, 11-7. Bhavina won 3-0, which assured her of at least a bronze medal.
Her challenge was not over however, as Bhavina now faced the Rio Parlaympics silver medallist and world no. 3 Zhang Miao of China in the semi finals, to advance to the gold medal match. The match was definitely not an easy one, and the game was neck to neck till the deciding set.
Zhang quickly took victory in the first set, 7-11, but Patel fought back in the second set, winning 11-7. She went on to clinch a dominant third set victory, with 11-4, but Zhang took the fourth set 9-11 to make the scores level. It was all down to the last set, but Bhavina held her own, and clinched the last set 11-8 to create history for India.
Bhavina will now take on world no. 1 Ying Zhou of China in the finals, who she faced defeat against in the first match. However, seeing as Patel has been living up to her full potential, she will definitely be contending for the gold medal with ease.