Hunter-Spivey secures first individual gold at US Open
Christmas came early for Jack Hunter-Spivey as he secured his first individual gold medal at the US Open to end 2017 on a high.
The 22-year-old – who made his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016 – defeated the reigning world champion and London 2012 gold medallist en route to the men’s class five singles title in Las Vegas.
Hunter-Spivey eased through his two group matches before facing Stuart Caplin in the quarter-finals, dispatching the American 3-0.
In the semi-finals, the Liverpudlian came up against world champion Valentin Baus of Germany – once again triumphing 3-0, before clinching the gold medal with a 3-2 victory over Norway’s Tommy Urhaug – Paralympic champion from five years ago.
“It’s been a great tournament for me,” said Hunter-Spivey.
“Two massive wins against Baus in the semi and then Tommy in the final – it’s incredible.
“It’s been a big goal for me to win a tournament and now I’ve finally won a tournament with some big wins and playing well so what I am doing in training is definitely paying off.
“I’m feeling great and what a great way to finish the season.”
Hunter-Spivey’s gold wasn’t the British team’s only medal in the States, however, with Kim Daybell winning silver in class ten and Josh Stacey securing class nine bronze.
Daybell topped his group and thus received a bye into the semi-finals, where another win took him through to the final.
There he faced an in-form David Jacobs – current world number two – and despite an impressive effort from Daybell, the Indonesian prevailed 3-0 to win the gold.
“It’s a nice way to finish the season with a silver medal,” said Daybell.
“I struggled a little in the final against a tough opponent but I’m quite pleased with the way I played overall.”
Welshman Stacey, playing in only his second international tournament, secured his place in the last four with a 3-0 victory over Indonesian opposition.
The 17-year-old then came agonisingly close to sealing his place in the final, pushing world number seven Tahl Leibovitz before the American finally took the match in the fifth.