At the end of day one at the ITTF Czech Para Open in Ostrava seven British athletes are assured of singles medals with Rob Davies (men’s class 1), Tom Matthews (men’s class 1), Martin Perry (men’s class 6), Ross Wilson (men’s class 8), Joshua Stacey (men’s class 9), Ashley Facey (men’s class 9) and Fliss Pickard (women’s class 6) all through to the semi-finals of their respective events.
Men’s class 1
Rob Davies began with a comfortable 3-0 win against the former class 2 Hungarian Adam Urlauber and then came through a great battle against Timo Natunen. The World number 11 from Finland beat Davies in the Czech Open last year before the Welshman got his revenge a few weeks later in the Finland Open and after losing the third set 12-10 to go 2-1 down he came storming back to take the next two 11-3 11-7 for a 3-2 win. He secured top place in group 3 with a 3-0 win against the unranked Yoon Sangchul from Korea to set up a quarterfinal against his old rival Endre Major. The World number five and European silver medallist from Hungary took the first set 11-9 but Davies recovered well to take the next three 11-5 11-2 11-7 and will play World number four Park Sung Joo in the semi-final.
Tom Matthews lost his first group 1 match in three close sets to Park Sung Joo, gold medallist in the Greek Para Open in April, but progressed to the knockout stages with a 3-0 win against Silvio Keller, the European bronze medallist from Switzerland. He won a close quarterfinal against Natunen 14-12 in the fourth and will play World number eight Kim Hakjin from Korea in the semi-final.
Men’s class 6
Martin Perry began with a 3-0 win against Kim SunGil from Korea, competing for the first time since 2019, and secured top place in group 3 with a 3-0 win against the very experienced Valentin Kneuss from Switzerland. He dropped the first set in his quarterfinal against Haris Eminovic from Bosnia-Herzegovina but came back to win 3-1 and will play World number seven Bobi Simion from Romania in the semi-final.
Top seed Paul Karabardak was a 3-0 winner against Petr Hnizdo from Czech Republic and then came through a tricky match against Takuro Chihara from Japan. The pair last met in Finland last year when the Welshman won in five sets and after they traded the first two sets Karabardak edged the third set 13-11 and secured a 3-1 win, 11-9 in the fourth. His quarterfinal against the talented Piotr Manturz was a replay of the Polish Open final last month which Karabardak won 3-0 but it was a different story today and after taking a tight first set 14-12 the Polish teenager grew in confidence, and he went on to take the match 3-0.
Men’s class 8
Ross Wilson was a 3-1 winner against the improving 21-year-old Alejandro Diaz from Spain and then defeated Zeev Glikman, the veteran former World and Paralympic champion from Israel, 3-0. He finished top of group 3 after a 3-0 win against Robert Boroleanu from Romania and received a last 16 bye into the quarterfinal where he faced Borna Zohil from Croatia, medallist in Italy and Montenegro this year. The pair met in Slovenia last month when Wilson won 3-0 and he confirmed that form with another 3-0 win to go through to a semi-final tomorrow against the World number one and World champion from Ukraine, Viktor Didukh.
In group 4 Billy Shilton won his first match against 15-year-old Yehonatan Levi from Israel 3-0 but was then beaten 3-1 by World number 14 Richard Csejtey, the former World champion and London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist. He secured his place in the knockout stages with a 3-0 win against 17-year-old Marcin Zielinski from Poland and received a last 16 bye into the quarterfinals where he lost in three close sets to Didukh.
Men’s class 9
Joshua Stacey was a comfortable 3-0 winner against 15-year-old Jan Muska from Czech Republic and then secured top place in group 1 with a 3-0 win against World number six Lev Kats. The European silver medallist and World doubles champion from Ukraine had won their most recent meeting in Slovenia last month 3-1 but the Welshman took his revenge today 11-6 13-11 12-10. As top seed and winner of group 1 he received a quarterfinal bye and went through to the semi-finals tomorrow where he will play World number four Ivan Mai, the Paralympic bronze medallist and World doubles champion from Ukraine.
In group 3 Ashley Facey won 3-0 against 14-year-old Tomas Novotny from Czech Republic and was then beaten 3-0 by Mai. He secured his place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 win against Kusnanto Kusnanto from Indonesia and produced a great performance to come from 2-0 down to beat Kats 14-12 in the fifth and will play World number four Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan in the semi-finals.
Women’s class 6
Fliss Pickard had won her last five matches against Emelie Endre 3-0 but the World number 11 from Sweden, silver medallist in Italy and Poland this year, fought back from 2-1 down to win 3-2. Pickard showed all her character to bounce back from that disappointment with a 3-0 win against Morgen Caillaud, the World number eight from France, and secured her place in the semi-finals tomorrow with a 3-0 win against the Polish teenager Barbara Jablonka. She will face the World number one from Ukraine, Maryna Lytovchenko.
Women’s class 8
In her first round-robin match Grace Williams led 2-0 against 15-year-old Magdalena Sutkowska Pawlasek before the World number 19 from Poland came back to level at 2-2 and take the deciding set 12-10. Williams started well against World number three Thu Kamkasomphou from France, but the World and European champion edged the first set 12-10 and went on to take the match 3-0. She fought hard against Lucie Hautiere levelling at 1-1 after losing the first 12-10 before the World number 10 from France took a tight third set 14-12 and went on to complete a 3-1 win. The 20-year-old from Llanfyllin finished with a 3-0 win against 15-year-old Olaia Martinez from Spain but finished in fourth place and out of the medals.