The British workforce secured eight singles medals on day three on the ITTF European Para Desk Tennis Championships in Sheffield.
Rob Davies (pictured above) will play for his fifth consecutive European title in males’s class 1 at present and Jack Hunter-Spivey (males’s class 5), Martin Perry (males’s class 6), Will Bayley (males’s class 7) and Grace Williams (ladies’s class 8) are all by means of to the semi-finals whereas Tom Matthews (males’s class 1), Fliss Pickard (ladies’s class 6) and 13-year-old Bly Twomey (ladies’s class 7) secured bronze of their respective occasions.
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Footage by Michael Loveder
Males’s class 1
Rob Davies had gained the final six conferences with Federico Falco, however the final two matches went to 5 units together with final 12 months within the World Championships and it was one other powerful battle once more at present. The Italian world No 8 twice got here again to stage at 1-1 and 2-2 however Davies used all his ability and expertise within the deciding set to take it 11-5 and attain one other European remaining.
“I’m actually happy with all the outcomes up to now,” he mentioned. “It was a tough match at present and I needed to dig deep. It was one other recreation of chess actually – I used to be struggling to get into gear slightly bit however as I do know from expertise generally it’s nearly getting the ball again any means you may. To get to the ultimate is kind of surprising for me, to be sincere, and I’m simply actually satisfied.
“I used my expertise within the fifth set. I didn’t really feel as if I used to be enjoying nice and my coronary heart price was going, and it was simply remembering issues from after I’ve been in these conditions earlier than. I haven’t carried out it for a very long time however in my final two tournaments I appear to be remembering issues that I used to do, and I’m actually satisfied to come back away with the win.
“I’m in a totally totally different place to 2019 though I in all probability wasn’t in the most effective nick then both however I’m nonetheless on the ladder coming again and making enhancements and I simply hope I can carry out within the remaining. I’m simply going to maintain calm and attempt to put one ball on at a time.”
Hopes of an all-British remaining have been dashed when fellow Welshman Tom Matthews was not capable of produce his greatest type in his semi-final in opposition to Endre Main, who was silver medallist in 2019. The world No 8 from Hungary additionally used his expertise to ascertain a 2-0 lead and though Matthews took the third set Main was simply too robust and took the match 11-9 within the fourth when Matthews missed a smash on match level.
“Clearly I’m actually disillusioned to have given him a 2-0 begin,” mentioned a disconsolate Matthews. “I haven’t performed him since 2017 and to be honest he began very well and I’ve to take it on the chin and are available again strongly. I feel it was partly nerves, I knew what was at stake however I’m actually completely happy for Rob and let’s hope he can win it. I’m happy with the medal however I didn’t need that color.”
Males’s class 5
Within the quarter-final Jack Hunter-Spivey performed his nice good friend Tommy Urhaug, the previous world and Paralympic champion from Norway. The pair final met within the Paralympic Video games in Tokyo when Hunter-Spivey gained in 5 shut units and it went the gap once more yesterday, with Hunter-Spivey twice levelling at 1-1 and 2-2 earlier than taking the deciding set 11-5 when Urhaug went lengthy with a backhand.
“I really feel nice,” mentioned Hunter-Spivey. “I’ve now received a European medal having been within the quarter-finals just a few instances, so it’s a massive stepping-stone for me and it was a very good efficiency. Tommy is a legend of the game and a man I’ve all the time regarded as much as so beating him is an unbelievable win for me.
“I’m simply actually completely happy that I’ve performed my greatest desk tennis when it issues and proved loads to myself as properly. Credit score the place it’s due Tommy performed wonderful and I’m simply completely happy that I got here out on prime once more. I’m wanting ahead to the following spherical and I actually imagine I can do properly on this event.”
Males’s class 6
Martin Perry additionally needed to battle laborious in his quarter-final in opposition to Michael Azulay. The world No 14 from Sweden had gained their final assembly in Italy in March and he got here again to stage at 2-2 after Perry led 2-1. The Scotsman all the time held the benefit within the fifth set, and he set free a roar of triumph as he clinched the match 11-6 within the fifth to achieve his second consecutive main singles semi-final.
Within the final 16, Paul Karabardak was concerned in a five-set battle with Esteban Herrault and the world No 11 from France, gold medallist within the Egypt Para Open and finalist in Italy, Greece and Montenegro this season, fought again from 2-1 all the way down to stage at 2-2 after which took the deciding set 11-8 to disclaim the Welshman a spot within the quarter-finals.
Males’s class 7
Will Bayley obtained a bye into the quarter-finals and progressed to the semi-finals with a 3-0 win in opposition to Henrik Meyer, wanting snug within the first two units for the lack of solely six factors and holding off a spirited problem from the German within the third, 11-9.
“I feel I performed very well at present.” mentioned Bayley. “I used to be very stable within the first two units after which I feel I took my foot off the fuel a bit within the third set, however I received the job carried out. I’m simply actually completely happy and proud to be in one other semi-final of a serious and enjoying in all probability my greatest desk tennis.
“I’ve received an enormous job to do – I’m enjoying Kevin Dourbecker and he is an efficient participant so it needs to be a fantastic recreation and I’m wanting ahead to it.”
In his first main championship, Pathway athlete Theo Bishop had made it by means of to the final 16 to face the very skilled Miroslav Jambor from Slovakia, bronze medallist in 2019 and a former class 8 Paralympic medallist. Bishop performed fantastically to steer 2-0 and held his nerve when Jambor fought again from 8-4 down to steer 10-8 within the third, exhibiting all his character and dedication to clinch victory 15-13 on his fourth match level.
Within the quarter-final he took on the reigning European champion Jean-paul Montanus and having misplaced a detailed first set 13-11 he took the second 11-7 to stage the match and the world No 2 from the Netherlands needed to dig deep to safe a 3-1 win, 11-7 within the fourth.
Males’s class 8
Aaron McKibbin gained his final 16 match in opposition to 18-year-old Marcin Zielinski from Poland 3-0 however misplaced out within the quarter-final to a different Polish participant in Maksym Chudzicki, the previous class 7 world & Paralympic medallist, who took the match 3-0.
Billy Shilton has had some nice matches with Clement Berthier and gained their final assembly on the World Championships in 5 units. Shilton led 2-1 however the world No 9 from France raced by means of the fourth set to stage at 2-2 and appeared to have the momentum however Shilton produced some nice backhands and intelligent serves to take management of the deciding set and take the match 3-2, 11-5 within the fifth.
His quarter-final opponent was one other Frenchman, Thomas Bouvais, who had gained their final two conferences in straight units. It was loads nearer this time with Shilton twice levelling at 1-1 and 2-2 however the world silver medallist took the deciding set 11-3.
Males’s class 9
Competing at school 9 for the primary time, former class 8 world champion Ross Wilson was spectacular in beating Jorge Cardona, the previous world and Paralympic workforce medallist from Spain 3-0 within the final 16 which took him by means of to a quarter-final in opposition to world No 1 Laurens Devos. The 23-year-old Belgian has dominated males’s class 9 since profitable his first European title in 2015 and is a two-time world and Paralympic champion however he needed to produce his sensible greatest to defeat Wilson, who produced some very good play of his personal and edged the second set 14-12 to stage at 1-1 earlier than Devos secured the match 3-1.
Regardless of recovering from 6-1 all the way down to take the opening set 13-11 world silver medallist Joshua Stacey couldn’t discover his greatest type in his quarter-final in opposition to the Tokyo bronze medallist Ivan Mai and after taking a detailed second set 11-9 to stage at 1-1 the world No 4 from Ukraine went on to win 3-1.
Ladies’s class 4-5
After a gradual begin in her quarter-final in opposition to the world No eight Irem Oluk, Megan Shackleton fought again to steer 2-1 earlier than the world bronze medallist from Turkey levelled at 2-2. At 7-7 within the deciding set the match was finely poised however Oluk proved simply the stronger and he or she took the following 4 factors and the match 3-2.
Ladies’s class 6
Fliss Pickard might by her personal admission be struggling along with her confidence ranges at this event, however the 29-year-old from Burnley by no means lacks dedication, and he or she performed a fantastic match in her quarter-final to beat the German world No 2 Stephanie Grebe 3-1. That took her by means of to a semi-final in opposition to the world No 1 Maryna Lytovchenko and the world and Paralympic champion from Ukraine was at her greatest in a 3-0 win.
“I’m actually happy with the efficiency that I gave this morning in opposition to Steffi,” mentioned Pickard. “She’s all the time been one of many opponents that I’ve struggled with – she’s a prime participant which is what I count on but it surely was good to get that win particularly as I’ve been struggling a bit at this event so to come back again and face my demons and get the win – I’m happy with that.
“Maryna is clearly an excellent participant and really sharp. You possibly can’t get away with being 80% you’ve received to be on it, however I feel I did plenty of studying particularly in that final set. I’ll take that ahead into coaching prepared to come back again higher and stronger for the following time I face her.
“I’m unbelievably proud to have the ability to get a European singles medal, particularly after the frustration within the singles within the worlds final 12 months. I really feel that I’m all the time studying, all the time rising. I’m on that journey and I really feel I’m on course.”
Ladies’s class 7
Bly Twomey misplaced her semi-final to world No 1 Kelly Van Zon from Netherlands 3-0 however the respect that the three-time Paralympic champion already has for the 13-year-old was apparent and a bronze medal in her first main championship is an unbelievable achievement and a sign of her large potential.
Ladies’s class 8
Grace Williams had misplaced her earlier eight matches in opposition to Lucie Hautiere however the 20-year-old confirmed nice dedication to beat the world No 9 3-2 in her remaining group match to progress to the quarter-finals, taking the deciding set 11-5 after the Frenchwoman had levelled the match at 2-2.
The 20-year-old from Llanfyllin confirmed simply how a lot she has improved with an excellent efficiency in opposition to Frederique Van Hoof, the world bronze medallist from Netherlands, enjoying fantastically to steer 2-0 after which holding her nerve in a tense fourth set to take it 15-13 on her fourth match level.
“It truthfully hasn’t sunk in but,” mentioned Williams, “however I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved on this event whatever the final result tomorrow.”