02 Mar 2017

Against expectations in the Standing Classes, there were defeats in the group stage of play in the Men’s Singles events at the 2017 Lignano Masters on Wednesday 1st March, for Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak as well as for Frenchman Kevin Dourbecker.

However, at the end of the day it was all’s well that ends well.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Progress to the title deciding match was no great surprise for Paul Karabardak; for Kevin Dourbecker it was somewhat of a mild surprise, as it was for Lucas Creange, like Kevin Dourbecker from France.

However, the players in the Men’s Singles Standing Classes to open eyes widen open were Belgium’s Marc Ledoux and Sweden’s Daniel Gustafsson; neither was seeded, both caused major upsets.

Competing in Class 8, Marc Ledoux was beaten by Great Britain’s Ross Wilson, the no.5 seed (9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4); in Class 9 it was the same fate for Daniel Gustafsson. He suffered defeat when facing the host nation’s Mohamed Kalem, the no.2 seed (11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 17-15).

Second place in the group was the end result; thus progress to the main draw. It was at that stage both players flourished.

Marc Ledoux accounted for Russia’s Artem Iakolev (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9), before causing upsets by overcoming Hungary’s Andras Csonka, the no.2 seed (11-8, 2-11, 11-7, 13-11) and Ukraine’s Ivan Mai, the no.6 seed (5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7) to reach the final. In the gold medal contest, Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh awaits.

Impressive, it was the same from Daniel Gustafsson. After receiving a walk-over against Great Britain’s Ashley Facey Thompson, he beat Ukraine’s Erhli Boiko (11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8) to reserve a place in the final where once again he will face Mohamed Kalem. Most pertinently, Erhli Boiko was a player in form; in the group phase he had beaten Russia’s Iurii Nozdrunov, the top seed (11-9, 11-3, 11-9).

Somewhat conversely in Class 6, for Paul Karabardak, there was a surprise group stage defeat. The no.2 seed, he was beaten by Croatia’s Vjekoslav Gregorovic (6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5) and had to settle for second place in the group.

Runners up spot meant hopes were still wide open; at the quarter-final stage he overcame Georgios Mouchthis of Greece (11-9, 11-5, 11-5), before defeating top seed and compatriot, David Wetherill (6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4) to reserve his place in the final.

A place in the gold medal contest and there is the opportunity of revenge. He meets Vjekoslav Gregorovic who, on his journey to the final, caused Great Britain more heartache; after overcoming Sweden’s Michael Azulay (6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6), he ended the hopes of Martin Perry (11-7, 11-5, 11-4).

Meanwhile, for Kevin Dourbecker, the no.4 seed in Class 7, it was an unexpected defeat in the first phase in opposition to Japan’s Katsuyoshi Yagi (7-11, 15-13, 11-6, 11-6). Just one defeat, second place in the group, he progressed to beat Sweden’s Nicklas Westerberg (11-8, 12-10, 11-5), Ukraine’s Viktor Knapp (11-7, 9-11, 11-2, 13-11) and compatriot Stéphane Messi, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4) to reach the final. Impressively, in the group phase, Viktor Knapp had overcome Jean-Paul Montanus of the Netherlands, the no.2 seed (5-11, 1-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8).

In the final, Maksym Nikolenko, the top seed and like Viktor Knapp, from Ukraine, awaits.

A place in the final contrary to seeding for Kevin Dourbecker, it was the same for Lucas Creange in Class 3; top place in his group, at the semi-final stage he overcame Hungary’s Peter Palos, the no.2 seed (11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5) to secure his place in the title decider. Belgium’s Florian Van Acker, the top seed, lies in wait.

Surprises, the one event in the Standing Classes that did not produce a surprise finalist was in Class 10; Frenchman Mateo Boheas and Bas Hegerlink, the respective top two seeds will decide the outcome.

Day One: 2017 Lignano Masters Para Open: Draws and Latest Results

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Paul Karabardak Kevin Dourbecker.