Bayley, Shackleton and Twomey first British players through to knockout stages in Slovenia

Bayley, Shackleton and Twomey first British players through to knockout stages in Slovenia

At the end of day one at the ITTF Slovenia Para Open in Lasko Will Bayley (men’s class 7), Megan Shackleton (women’s class 4) and Bly Twomey (women’s class 7) have all progressed to the knockout stages while 13 other British athletes play their final group matches tomorrow.

Men’s class 1

Tom Matthews could not produce his best form in a 3-0 loss to World number four Kim Hakjin from the Korea Republic and plays World bronze medallist Andrea Borgato from Italy in his final group 1 match.

Rob Davies began with a 3-0 win against the 24-year-old unranked Gasper Mlakar from Slovenia. In his second match he played World number three Endre Major, the Hungarian who denied Davies a fifth consecutive singles title in the European Championship final last year. At 2-0 and playing superbly it looked as if Davies would get his revenge but Major worked his way back into the match and eventually took it 11-9 in the fifth.

Davies plays his final match in group 4 tomorrow against Rakan Abdulrahman Alsalmi from Saudi Arabia.

Men’s class 2

Chris Ryan did not progress from a tough group, although he started brilliantly against Federico Crosara, taking the first set 11-2, but the World number seven from Italy came back to win 3-1, 11-8 in the fourth. Ryan edged a close third set against Tomasz Jakimczuk 14-12 before the World and European doubles bronze medallist from Poland took the fourth for a 3-1 win and the former GB wheelchair rugby captain fought back again against World number three Peter Lovas to take the third set 11-6 although the Slovakian took the fourth 11-5 and the match 3-1.

Men’s class 5

Jack Hunter-Spivey lost his opening match 3-0 to World number three Tommy Urhaug, the former World and Paralympic champion from Norway and plays Hamza Caliskan from Turkey in his final group match tomorrow.

Men’s class 6

Paul Karabardak came through a tense fourth set 16-14 to beat the 15-year-old American Samuel Altshuler 3-1 on his sixth match point. He led 1-0 and 2-1 against Ignacio Torres Orostica but the World number five and Para PanAmerican silver medallist from Chile levelled at 2-2 and edged the deciding set 13-11.

Karabardak plays Junki Itai from Japan in his final group 4 match.

Martin Perry recovered from dropping the first set to beat Lee Se Ho from Korea Republic 3-1 and then played a great match to beat the former European silver medallist Bobi Simion from Romania 3-0. Perry plays the unranked Tomaz Rabuzin from Slovenia in his final group 5 match.

Men’s class 7

Will Bayley won his first match against the former class 6 European silver medallist Pavao Jozic from Croatia 3-0 and then had to fight hard to beat World number 17 Sam Gustafsson from Sweden 3-1 to secure his place in the quarterfinals.

“I’m happy to come through,” said Bayley. “It wasn’t my best performance to be honest - I didn’t play that well but respect to him he played well. I didn’t feel like I really found my rhythm at all but if you play like that and still win it is always good. You’ve got to take the positives and I won when I wasn’t playing anywhere near as well as I can do so that’s a good thing. First job done but I’ve got to improve and really up my game now because there are going to be some hard matches, but I’m pleased to get through.”

Theo Bishop put up a great performance against the Para PanAmerican silver medallist Israel Pereira Stroh, twice levelling the match before the Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist from Brazil took the deciding set for a 3-2 win. Bishop kept himself in contention with a 3-0 win against Gonzalo Rodriguez from Spain and plays his final match in group 3 tomorrow against Ben Despineux from Belgium.

Men’s class 8

Top seed Aaron McKibbin began with a comfortable 3-0 win against World number 21 Zeev Glikman, the veteran former World and Paralympic champion from Israel. He lost a tight first set against World number 13 Borna Zohil 16-14 and then fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 but the 17-year-old from Croatia, who has taken medals in Brazil, Spain and Poland this season took the deciding set 11-7.

McKibbin plays his final group match tomorrow against Ricard Sabio Ruiz from Spain.

Billy Shilton was a 3-0 winner against Daichi Imaizumi from Japan, silver medallist in the Korea Open last year. He then produced a great performance to beat World number eight Thomas Bouvais, the World silver medallist from France, recovering from the disappointment of losing three match points in the third set to take the fourth 11-7 for a 3-1 win.

Shilton plays Luiz Filipe Guarnieri Manara from Brazil in his final group 6 match.

Men’s class 9

Joshua Stacey started well against World number one Laurens Devos but the two-time World and Paralympic champion from Belgium who has reigned supreme in class 9 since 2015 edged the first set 12-10 and went on to complete a 3-0 win, 11-9 in the third. Stacey plays his final group 1 match tomorrow against World number three Lev Kats from Ukraine.

In group 2 Ross Wilson was a 3-0 winner against Logan Watson, the Para PanAmerican bronze medallist from USA. He led 10-4 in the first set against World number two Ma Lin before eventually losing it 13-11 but came back fighting to take the second 11-3. The former Chinese World and Paralympic champion from Australia went on to take the next two sets for a 3-1 win.

Wilson plays his final group match against World number 11 Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan.

Ashley Facey lost his first match to Ander Cepas, the World number five from Spain 3-0 and then produced a fighting performance to beat Hayuma Abe, the Asian Para Games doubles silver medallist from Japan, 12-10 in the fifth.

He plays his final match in group 3 tomorrow against Lucas Didier from France.

Women’s class 4

Megan Shackleton was a 3-0 winner against the Oceania champion Lisa Di Toro from Australia and then recovered well from losing 3-0 to World number eight Nada Matic from Serbia to beat Ghaliah Alanazi from Saudi Arabia, the Al Watani Para Open silver medallist 3-0 and secure her place in the quarterfinals.

“I’m really pleased with that,” said Shackleton. “I was a little frustrated coming off the match against Nada because we usually have quite tight games, and I didn’t feel like I gave her much of a game today. I struggled to get going but it was really nice to reset, have a fresh warm-up and go into the last match and engage with myself the way that I need to in order to be able to perform. I feel like I’ve got myself ready for tomorrow and hopefully I can do it again.”

Women’s class 6

At 2-0 Fliss Pickard looked to be on control of her first match against Emelie Endre but the World number 14 from Sweden, silver medallist in Italy and Poland last year edged a tight third set 13-11 before Pickard took the fourth 11-9 for a 3-1 win. She then played superbly to beat World number five Katarzyna Marszal, the World and European silver medallist and former World champion from Poland 3-0 and plays Merethe Tveiten from Norway in her final group match.

Women’s class 7

Bly Twomey was impressive in beating the World number 12 and European bronze medallist Nora Korneliussen from Norway 3-0 and secured her place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 win against Valentina Marcheva, the World number 10 from Bulgaria.

“I’m very happy with how I’ve played,” said Twomey. “Nora is a very hard person to play because of her style but I think I played very well. When I first started playing because I’m so young I thought the other players would probably beat me but now I’ve got used to everything and I feel more confident. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and excited to play different styles and hopefully get better.”

Women’s class 8

In her first match Grace Williams faced the World number two Thu Kamkasomphou from France.  They last met in the European Championships last year when Williams won in five sets on her way to winning silver and she made a great start by taking the first set 11-7 but the 55-year-old World champion and former two-time Paralympic champion took a close second 11-9 to level and then used all her experience to take the match 3-1.

Williams then showed her character by coming through a five-set battle against Karin Pracek from Slovenia 11-8 in the fifth and she plays her final group match against World number five Juliane Wolf from Germany tomorrow.