Australian table tennis player Sam von Einem is through to the semi-finals of the Rio Paralympics tournament after a five game battle with Korean Byeong-Jun Son.
Von Einem, 21, dropped the first two games before recovering to claim a memorable 12-4, 1-11, 11-2,11-9, 11-9 victory.
“That wasn’t the plan to get two-love down but it happened,” von Einem said with a smirk as he considered how fortunate he was to advance.
“You know to win this tournament you going to need a bit of luck and I think that was it for me.
“That’s a huge win considering where we are. You get into the semis then you’re into the medal play-offs so it’s a massive win for me.”
It was also one celebrated in style. Von Einem produced small koala bear toys from his kit bag to throw into the appreciative crowd after his win and then later posed for photos with the fans.
Earlier, frustrated by the sticky, humid conditions and his opponent’s tactics in the quarter final, von Einem was good enough to change his own method in the crucial third game.
“I was going too far back trying to loop him off and he was blocking me off so I changed it,” he explained.
“I stood up at the table to try and block him off a bit more and push him all around the table.”
Von Einem will meet another Korean in the semi-finals.
Gi-Tae Kim beat Frenchman Pascal Perreira Leal 13-11, 12-10, 8-11, 14-12.
Von Einem will enter the game confident as he holds a 2-0 career record against Kim.
“It’s a big opportunity to get into that final,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited for the opportunity and I hope it really goes well.”
The semi-final game is on Sunday in Rio. If von Einem wins, the gold medal game is on Monday as is the play-off for bronze.