Successful first day for British squad in Finland

Six British players are through to semi-finals tomorrow after the first day of singles competition in the PTT Finland Open. They include World and Commonwealth champion Ross Wilson (men’s class 8), European bronze medallist David Wetherill (men’s class 6), World bronze medallist Fliss Pickard (women’s class 6) and Commonwealth bronze medallist Joshua Stacey (men’s class 9).

Wilson came through his group with 3-0 wins against Takumi Shukunobe, the Asian Para Games team bronze medallist from Japan, and 2017 European team gold medallist Roman Vakarash from Ukraine. That gave him a bye into the quarter-finals where he beat Linus Karlsson, the World team gold medallist from Sweden, 3-1 and he will have the chance to avenge his European championships defeat by the Ukrainian Maksym Nikolenko in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Wetherill also topped his group with 3-0 wins against Markku Manner from Finland, the former European team champion who was playing his first tournament since 2011, and Petr Hnizdo from Czech Republic. He defeated Marios Chatzikyriakos from Greece 3-1 in the quarter-finals and will play the Italian Raimondo Alecci tomorrow.

Martin Perry won his first match in men’s class 6 against Tor Rasmussen from Norway 3-0 and then came through a great battle against Chatzikyriakos 3-2. The 18 year old European team silver medallist beat Perry over five sets in the Japan Open but this time it was Perry who came out on top, fighting back from 2-0 down to win 12-10 in the fifth and secure his place in the quarter-finals as the group winner. A 3-0 win against Manner took him through to a semi-final tomorrow against the German Thomas Rau.

Stacey fought back from 2-1 down to beat the Czech Open bronze medallist from Indonesia Kusnanto 3-2 and then beat the World silver medallist Iurii Nozdrunov from Russia 3-1, 13-11 in the fourth. He secured top place in his group and a bye into tomorrow’s semi-finals with a 3-0 win against Bart Van Der Zanden from Netherlands, a team medallist in Italy and Spain this year.

Ashley Facey Thompson received a walkover against Supriyatna Gumilar from Indonesia and was beaten 3-0 by Lev Kats from Ukraine, the European silver medallist. He joined Stacey in the knockout stages of men’s class 9 with a 3-0 win against Aviv Gordon from Israel and set up an all-British semi-final tomorrow with a 3-1 win against Esa Miettinen from Finland.

Pickard received a walkover in her first match against Najlah Al Dayyeni from Iraq and lost 3-0 to the World number two and former Paralympic champion Raisa Chebanika from Russia. A 3-0 win against Caisa Stadler from Sweden secured her place in the semi-finals tomorrow where she will play the European champion Maliak Alieva from Russia.

In men’s class 8 Billy Shilton started with a 3-0 win against the 17 year old Russian Nikita Novikov from Russia but lost his second match to Ivan Mai, the World number five and World bronze medallist from Ukraine. He claimed his place in the knockout stages with a 3-0 win against Lukas Maxa from Czech Republic and narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals after twice levelling against Nikolenko in their quarter-final before the European silver medallist took the match 3-2.

In men’s class 10 Kim Daybell beat the 21 year old Russian Ivan Shmuilo 3-0 and was then beaten 3-1 by the World bronze medallist from Austria, Krisztian Gardos. A 3-0 win against Benoit Grasset, the World team bronze medallist from France, took him through to the knockout stages where he lost 3-0 to World number four Mateo Boheas from France.

In women’s class 3 Lucie Bouron put up a determined performance against World number 10 Hatice Duman from Turkey, fighting back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before the former World and European singles medallist eventually took the match 11-6 in the fifth. The 24 year old from Bracknell lost her second match against Fanny Bertrand, the former European team champion and Paralympic team medallist from France, 3-1.

Marc Bonnar (men’s class 1-2), Lee York (men’s class 4) and Dan Bullen (men’s class 5) all went out after losing their group matches. Bonnar lost 3-0 to Rasul Nazirov from Russia, Mitsuhiro Matsuo, the Asian Para Games team silver medallist from Japan, and Benoit Besset from France; York lost 3-0 to Shai Siada, the former European bronze medallist from Israel, Aleksandr Sokolov from Russia and Nesim Turan, the European silver medallist and World number four from Turkey; Bullen was beaten 3-0 by Lin Yen-Hung, the very experienced World team gold medallist and Paralympic team silver medallist from Chinese Taipei, 3-1 by Isak Nyholm from Sweden and 3-0 by the Turkish World champion Ali Ozturk.

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