Tokyo Paralympics, Day 3:
Barten sets match with Alcott
Victoria Chiesa | August 29, 2021
Waiting three days to take the court at his third Paralympics, U.S. quad No. 2 Bryan Barten made the most of the moment on Monday.
The world No. 11, and second-highest ranked American man in the quads behind David Wagner, notched a 6-4, 6-1 win over South Korea's Kim Kyu-Seung in the last first-round singles match for Americans in Tokyo. With the match pushed back from Sunday due to the searing heat that's plagued the event over its first three days, Barten needed just 71 minutes to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with gold medal favorite and top seed Dylan Alcott of Australia.
The quarterfinal result matches Barten's effort from London 2012.
"The win tonight is kind of icing on the cake for me. It's just been a lot of hard work and pain to get to this point and now to have a Paralympic victory, I'm speechless," Barten said after the match. ADVERTISEMENT "There were a lot of people involved in me getting here... so many people helped me to get here, to fight through a lot of pain and rehab, the support of my family and friends. I couldn't have done it without them and and my wife. It's just been phenomenal, the support.
"I think these Games were much harder to qualify for, and to be here today, I'm just thankful for all those people I mentioned and for the opportunity to represent my country. It's just amazing."
It was a short day for Team USA on the schedule in all, with just two matches featuring Americans played. In men's doubles, Casey Ratzlaff and Conner Stroud saw their Paralympic debut come to an end in the second round against No. 7 seeds Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente of Spain, 6-1, 6-2.
"Tonight's doubles match was really fun and it was a good match. We ultimately came up short in the end, but we had a lot of good points. We played our best," Stroud said. "The Spanish team was just really, really strong, and they were playing some of their best tennis and made us work for each point. It was good to get out there and give it our all. I've had a great first experience here at the Paralympics, thanks to the USTA staff, USOPC staff and everyone who supports me. It's really been special for me and I can't wait for the next one."
Barten, Wagner and Dana Mathewson will be back in action in singles on Monday as the lone U.S. players remaining in the event. Barten will take on Alcott last on Court 3 in the fourth match, while Mathewson will open the day's play on Court 3 against Thailand's Sakhorn Khanthasit. Wagner will take on Koji Sugeno in the quad quarterfinals as the final scheduled match on Court 1.
"A couple of great matches today. A tough, tough battle for Casey Ratzlaff and Conner Stroud against Spain in their second round of the doubles competition. They battled hard to the very, very end and were just a little bit overmatched by a more experienced team. But we all could not have been prouder of the effort and the real workman-like approach to the way they operated during these Games. We know this is just the very beginning for these two," said Team USA head coach Jason Harnett.
"Secondly, a great win for Bryan Barten. It was just amazing to see how happy he was to get another win here at the Paralympic Games in his first-round match. He gets a chance to play the world No. 1 tomorrow. His excitement is overwhelming, so we're so happy and proud of him. I can't wait to see him battle against the very best in the world."
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Photo credit: Getty Images.