Shackleton secures first singles medal for British team in Slovenia

Shackleton secures first singles medal for British team in Slovenia

Megan Shackleton secured bronze in women’s class 4 on the second day of the ITTF Slovenia Para Open in Lasko today and going into the final day of singles events tomorrow Bly Twomey (women’s class 7), Tom Matthews (men’s class 1) and Will Bayley (men’s class 7) are also assured of medals having progressed to the semi-finals while Martin Perry (men’s class 6) and Billy Shilton (men’s class 8) are both through to the quarterfinals of their respective events.

Women’s class 4

A 3-0 win against Andreja Dolinar, the three-time European bronze medallist from Slovenia took Megan Shackleton through to the semi-finals to face Borislava Peric-Rankovic and she came agonisingly close to a first win in 15 matches against the World number one, leading 2-1 and holding match point at 11-10 in the fourth but the former World and Paralympic champion from Serbia levelled at 2-2 and took the deciding set 11-8.

Although disappointed to lose such a close match Shackleton can take great confidence from this performance into the World Paralympic Qualification tournament in Thailand later this month.

“I’m proud of the performance and hopefully I can get the win next time,” she said. “Obviously Peric is a very strong player and has dominated the class for years so I think coming into this part of the season it is really good for me to be able to show that I can contend with the best in the world. Unfortunately, I lost the match point in the fourth and I tried not to think about it too much. The positives are that everything I’ve been doing in training is starting to come together in matches and hopefully I can take that into Thailand and get the result I want.”

Women’s class 7

Bly Twomey took on 53-year-old World number 11 Claudia Perez Villalba from Mexico in the quarterfinals and she beat the Para PanAmerican champion 3-0 to set up a semi-final against the World and European champion Kubra Korkut from Turkey.

“I’m looking forward to the semi-finals,” said Twomey, “because I’ll play the number two in the world and I haven’t played her since the Europeans last year. I have got much better since then so I’m hoping to give her a good game.”

Men’s class 1

Tom Matthews showed all his character with a 3-1 win against World bronze medallist Andrea Borgato from Italy in his final group match to secure his place in the quarterfinals. He came through a five-set battle against World number three Endre Major from Hungary, taking the deciding set 11-8 after Major had levelled at 2-2 and will play the Korean World number one Joo Young Dae in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Rob Davies progressed from group 4 with a 3-0 win against Rakan Abdulrahman Alsalmi from Saudi Arabia and after a slow start against World number two Kim Hyeon Uk in the quarterfinal he twice levelled the match before the Tokyo silver medallist and former World champion from the Republic of Korea took the deciding set 11-4 for a 3-2 win.

Men’s class 6

Martin Perry topped group 5 with a 3-0 win against the unranked Tomaz Rabuzin from Slovenia and received a last 16 bye into the quarterfinals tomorrow where he will play Matias Pino Lorca from Chile.

Paul Karabardak progressed as group 4 runner-up with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Junki Itai from Japan but lost his last 16 match to Michael Azulay from Sweden 3-1.

Men’s class 7

After progressing from his group yesterday Will Bayley said that he would have to improve, and he produced a much better performance in the quarterfinals to beat the former World champion Jordi Morales from Spain 3-0. He plays World number 10 Jonas Hansson from Sweden in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Theo Bishop progressed from group 3 with a 3-1 win against World number 14 Ben Despineux from Belgium. He had won in five sets against Michal Deigsler in Kazakhstan in March, and took the first set of their quarterfinal 13-11 but the World number 12 from Poland came back to take the match 3-1.

Men’s class 8

Billy Shilton progressed to the knockout stages as winner of group 6 with a 3-0 win against Luiz Filipe Guarnieri Manara from Brazil. He won his last 16 match against Phisit Wangphonphathanasiri, the World doubles silver medallist from Thailand 3-0 and plays World number six Emil Andersson from Sweden in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Top seed Aaron McKibbin secured his place in the knockout stages with a 3-0 win against Ricard Sabio Ruiz from Spain but never really found his form in his last 16 match against World number two and European silver medallist Maksym Nikolenko from Ukraine who was a 3-0 winner.

Men’s class 9

Joshua Stacey progressed from group 1 as runner-up after beating World number three Lev Kats from Ukraine 3-0 but he could not produce that form in the quarterfinal against World number two Ma Lin and the Chinese born former World and Paralympic champion from Australia was a 3-0 winner.

In group 2 Ross Wilson went out after a 3-1 loss to World number 11 Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan in his final group match.

Ashley Facey showed great character to fight back from 2-0 down to beat World number eight Lucas Didier from France 3-2 in his final group match and was unlucky to miss out on a place in the knockout stages on countback.

Men’s class 5

Jack Hunter-Spivey looked to be in control of his final group match against Hamza Caliskan at 2-0 up but the World number 16 and former European team champion from Turkey came back to level at 2-2 and took the deciding set 11-9.

Women’s class 6

Fliss Pickard progressed to the quarterfinals as group winner with a 3-0 win against European doubles champion Merethe Tveiten from Norway and led Stephanie Grebe 2-0 but the World number two and Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist from Germany levelled at 2-2 and took the deciding set 11-9 to avenge her recent 3-0 defeat by Pickard in Poland.

Women’s class 8

Grace Williams did not progress after a 3-0 loss to World number five Juliane Wolf from Germany in her final group match.