Australian Yang Qian has won Women’s Singles C10 Table tennis gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics with a four-set win over Brazil’s Bruna Costa Alexandre.
The Chinese-born player had previously won two silver medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 representing her home country. She has also won gold for China in the Paralympic team event in London.
Yang has now added a maiden singles gold medal to her collection, representing Australia this time around after moving after the latest Paralympic Games.
The 25-year-old came into the gold medal match having only lost one match – 3-0 in the group stages -, her opponent, a player who had only dropped one game for the entire tournament – in the semi-final.
At the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Yang was the first of the two players to serve though lost the first point against Costa Alexandre as each traded points across the first four points of the match. From that 2-2 score, the Brazilian took a slight lead, winning the next two points.
The Australian got a point back through Costa Alexandre won the next four points to lead 3-8 as Yang found her hits collect the net a few times and sent hits further than the edge of the table on the return.
Yang won three of the next five points to get back into the match but Costa Alexandre held a game point when the score was 7-10. Yang wasn’t going down without a fight as the Brazilian’s shots went long, the lead reversing to 11-10 in favour of the Australian.
A Yang shot that hit the net evened the scores at 11-all before consecutive long shots from Costa Alexandre gave Yang the first game with the last two points to win 13-11.
The second game started with Costa Alexandre serving who got out to a four-point lead before two winning shots from Yang got her on the board.
Four of the next five points went to the Brazilian to lead 8-3 before the two players traded the next four points. Costa Alexandre got to a game-point situation and a long shot from Yang brought the match to one game won apiece, the second game ending 11-6.
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The third game began with Yang serving and despite winning the first point, Costa Alexandre won the next four points to gain a slight ascendency on the scoreboard. Yang though fought hard to bring the margin to an even four-all with the next three points.
Both the Australian and Brazilian went back-and-forth for the next four points for a 6-6 scoreline. Yang won the next point to break the deadlock, allowing herself to be at least one point ahead of Costa Alexandre.
With an 8-7 scoreline, Yang went on a rally to win the final three points of the game – all via Costa Alexandre’s hits into the net – to take the game 11-8 and needed just one more game win to take home gold.
Game four started with Yang serving too, and although Costa Alexandre won the first point, the Aussie won the following six points to lead 6-1 after multiple hits from the Brazilian who hit the ball long.
Each player split the next two points before four consecutive points to Costa Alexandre brought the margin to an even 7-7.
The next five points went back-and-forth also, Yang eventually settling on match point with a 10-9 lead before Costa Alexandre sent a hit long to hand the gold medal to Yang.
The win was Australia’s second table tennis gold medal of the night with Lei Li Na who took first place in the Women’s Singles C9 class.
Yang’s Paralympic campaign isn’t over yet, playing in the Women’s Team C9-10 quarterfinal against Hungary on Wednesday, September 1 at 11 am.
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