On a successful first day at the PTT Slovenia Open in Lasko all 17 British athletes reached the knockout stages of their respective singles events and are still fighting for the medals that will be decided tomorrow. Highlights included a 3-0 win for 19 year old Josh Stacey over the World number three Juan Bautista Perez Gonzalez from Spain in men’s class 9 while Paralympic champions Will Bayley (men’s class 7) and Rob Davies (men’s class 1) and World champion Ross Wilson (men’s class 8) all came through their groups unbeaten to reach the last 16.
With nearly 450 athletes competing here including 16 Paralympic gold medallists from Rio2016 this is the biggest Para table tennis tournament outside of the major championships and British team Performance Director Gorazd Vecko was satisfied with his team’s performance
“With such strong competition we have to be happy to have all of our players through to the last 16 and there were some very good performances. Tomorrow is going to be a very tough day but the players have worked hard in training and they are ready for the challenge.”
Women’s class 4
Megan Shackleton lost her first match to Gu Xiaodan from China, the World number five and World Championships bronze medallist, 3-1, but reached the knockout stages with a 3-1 win against Barbara Meglic from Slovenia. The 20 year old plays the Italian Carlotta Ragazzini in the last 16.
Sue Gilroy beat the Russian Ekaterina Popova 3-0 but lost 3-1 to the Serbian World number 14 Zorica Popadic. A 3-0 win in her final group match against Slobodanka Guresic from Montenegro ensured that she also progressed to the last 16 where she will play Nada Matic from Serbia.
Women’s class 6
In her first match Fliss Pickard led Raisa Chebanika 2-0 but the Russian World number two and World championships silver medallist edged the third set 12-10 and went on to take the match 3-2. Pickard progressed to the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win against Caisa Stadler from Sweden and will play World champion Maryna Lytovchenko from Russia.
Men’s class 1
Rob Davies progressed as group winner with a 3-1 win against the Russian Dmitry Lavrov and a 3-1 win against Sung Joo Park from Korea. He receives a bye into the quarter-finals where he will play World bronze medallist Fernando Eberhardt from Argentina.
Paul Davies showed all his old fire and determination in a 3-1 win against the World number three Endre Major from Hungary and reached the knockout stages despite a 3-0 loss to the 23 year old World champion Hyeon Uk Kim from Korea. He plays Park in the last 16.
Tom Matthews began with a 3-0 win against Timo Natunen from Finland but lost out in a great battle against World number six Federico Falco which the Italian took 11-8 in the fifth. The Welshman plays Andrea Borgato from Italy in the last 16.
Men’s class 5
Jack Hunter-Spivey moved smoothly through to the knockout stages with 3-0 wins against Milan Zelen from Serbia and the Korean World number 13 Kyung Young Kim. He plays Hamza Caliskan from Turkey in the last 16.
Men’s class 6
David Wetherill began with a 3-0 win against the German Benedikt Muller and topped his group with a 3-0 win against Valentin Kneuss from Switzerland. He received a bye into the last 16 where he will play Matias Pino Lorca from Chile.
Paul Karabardak beat the Oceania champion Trevor Hirth from Australia 3-1 and fought back from 2-0 down against Matteo Parenzan to level at 2-2 but the Italian took the deciding set 11-5. Karabardak went through to the last 32 where he beat Georgios Mouchthis from Greece 3-1 and plays World champion Peter Rosenmeier in the last 16 tomorrow.
On his 25th birthday Martin Perry also had a terrific battle against Bastien Grundeler which the former World number one from France won 11-5 in the fifth. Perry fought back from 2-1 down to beat the Russian Mars Gabdullin and progress to the last 32 where he beat Michael Azulay from Sweden 3-1. He plays World number one Alvaro Valera from Spain in the last 16.
Men’s class 7
Will Bayley beat 21 year old Jonas Hansson, last year’s Czech Open silver medallist from Sweden 3-0 and followed up with a 3-0 win against Young Sung Kim from Korea. He plays the Frenchman Stephane Messi in the last 16 tomorrow.
Men’s class 8
Ross Wilson was a 3-0 winner against the Colombian Diego Henao Quintero and secured top place in his group with a 3-0 win against Fabian Rignell from Sweden. The 23 year old plays Piotr Grudzien from Poland in the last 16 tomorrow.
Billy Shilton had a tough start against Andras Csonka from Hungary and the Rio silver medallist took the match 3-0 but Shilton went through to the knockout stages with a 3-0 win against Borna Zohil from Croatia. A 3-1 win against Zeev Glickman from Israel took him through to the last 16 where he will play World number one Viktor Didukh.
Aaron McKibbin avenged his World championships defeat last year by Richard Csejtey, beating the Slovakian former World champion 3-2 and secured top place in his group with a 3-0 win against Vit Spalek from Czech Republic. A 3-0 win against Rignell took him through to the last 16 where he will play Peng Weinan from China.
Men’s class 9
Josh Stacey put up a great performance to beat the very experienced World number three and World championships bronze medallist from Spain Juan Bautista Perez Gonzalez 3-0 and followed that with another 3-0 win against Nobuyuki Suzuki from Japan. As group winner he received a bye in to the quarter-finals.
Ashley Facey Thompson beat the 19 year old German Laurenz Fehling 3-0 but lost his second match 3-1 to Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan, the World number eight who had beaten him in the World Championships quarter-final last year. A hard-fought 3-2 win against Han Yajie from China secured his progression to the last 16 tomorrow where he will play the former World and Paralympic champion Ma Lin.
Men’s class 10
Kim Daybell began with a 3-0 win against the Korean Chang-ho Choe but then lost in five sets to Bas Hergelink, the 22 year old World number 11 from Netherlands. The 26 year old progressed from his group with a 3-1 win against Gilles De La Bourdonnaye from France, the former Paralympic, World and European champion who is competing for the first time since the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008, and plays Lorenzo Cordua from Italy in the last 16.