Thomas in SL3 group of death
Date: 2/19/2020 10:43 AM
Published by : Mathieu Thomas at the World Championships 2019 (credit Badminton Photo)

Mathieu Thomas faces a tough test in the form of Oleksandr Chyrkov, a European battle for a place in the men’s singles knockout draw.

The Frenchman woke up this morning to news of an uphill battle ahead of him. Mathieu Thomas is the nation’s top SL3 men’s singles player, ranked number eight in the world, yet he needs to fight hard just to make it out of the group stages in Peru this week.

Thomas’ opening match was against third seed, and world number seven Vikram Kumar (IND) this morning in Group C, which got off to a thrilling start. He lost the opener 20-22 and managed to come back 21-16 in the second to level the match.

A final game 21-19 defeat meant the Frenchman’s hopes of qualifying to the next round are in danger, with both men yet to face off against the Ukrainian world number six who also features in the group.

Read: Marin moves on Barcelona

A tough draw

The European Championships silver medalist Oleksandr Chyrkov is at a career high in the rankings, sitting just outside of the seeded positions this week in Peru, despite earning more points than Kumar last week in Brazil when he leap-frogged the Indian in the world top ten.

It is unfortunate at this stage in the Paralympic qualifying that three of the top ten face each other in the group stages of an international. Two will manage to prevail and make it through, and one of those should make it the latter stages of the competition. 

Kumar is fighting two Indian teammates ahead of him in the Race to Tokyo for a spot in Japan this summer, but if the most successful of the three this week is a European player, that player may just do enough to qualify

The showdown between Thomas and Chyrkov tomorrow is mouth-watering.

Look out for updates from the Peru Para badminton International 2020 this week, see tournament software here for draws and results. 

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