Indian table tennis player Bhavinaben Patel stunned defending champion Borislava Peric-Rankovic of Serbia in straight games to storm into the Semi-finals of the women's singles Class 4 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday.
With the win, she assured herself of a medal at the Paralympics. Also there are no bronze medal playoffs in table tennis at this edition. The International Paralympic Committee Governing Board had approved ITTF's request to remove the third-place play-off in all the medal events and award bronze to both the losing semi-finalists. The 34-year-old Indian beat her Serbian opponent 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 in a quarterfinal match that lasted 18 minutes.
She takes on Zhang Miao of China in the semifinals on Saturday. But she is guaranteed at least a bronze medal. There is no bronze-medal play-off in Tokyo Paralympics table tennis, and both losing semi-finalists are guaranteed a bronze medal.
Earlier in the day, she had notched a strong win over Joyce de Oliveira of Brazil. The world No 8 to reach the quarter-final. She had also beaten world No 9 Megan Shackleton in must-win group stage match.
"I could win my semifinal match due to the support of the people of India. Please keep supporting me so that I can win my semifinal match,"Bhavina Patel, said after the quarterfinal match as per PTI.
Also Read : Indian medalists at the Paralympics
Bhavina had become the first Indian table tennis player to enter the quarterfinals at Paralympics. And also is now the first in the semis. However, additionally the first ever table tennis player from India to win a Paralympics medal. She will face the world No 3 ZHANG Miao of China in the semifinal on Friday, to try and make it a silver or gold. Colour of the medal yet to be confirmed. Although, Bhavina has become the second Indian woman to earn a place on the podium in the history of Paralympics. Rio 2016 silver medallist and Paralympic Committee of India chief Deepa Malik was the first one. Moreover, she had a message for the paddler.
"It is sure that we can see a medal from her. Tomorrow morning's match (semifinal) is a huge decider what colour of the medal she will win," Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik said in a video footage on her Twitter handle.