08 May 2017

Increasing successful in the international arena, Great Britain made a fine start to proceedings in the Men’s Singles event the 2017 Thermana Lasko 14th Slovenia Para Open on Saturday 6th May.

Gold medallists at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Rob Davies and Will Bayley both ended the opening day unbeaten as did Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Competing in Class 1, Rob Davies duly topped his group finishing ahead of Argentina’s Fernando Eberhardt, Russia’s Dmitry Lavrov and Nikolaos Kaplanis of Greece to reserve his place in the semi-finals.

“Really happy to have won all my matches. I wasn’t all that confident coming in to be honest, so to come out and win three matches gives me a bit of a boost. I’ll go and do some training and get ready for the next round. I’ve got to perform tomorrow and lift my game so hopefully I can do that.” Rob Davies

Likewise in Class 7, Will Bayley finished in first place in his group and thus reserved his place in the quarter-finals. Next in line came Sweden’s Niklas Westerberg with Ukraine’s Viktor Karp in third place and Nigeria’s Temitope Ogusanya fourth; the most testing of the three encounters being his first contest in the group when facing Niklas Westerberg (11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2).

“It was nice to get my first match out of the way and I played fine. The Swedish boy has really improved so I was pleased to win that and I feel that I am playing my way into the tournament with those two wins. There are lots of good players here who want to win so there are some big matches to come. I’m very motivated to do as well as I can do; every match will be difficult now.” Will Bayley.

Success for Rob Davies and Will Bayley but arguably the best British performances came in Class 8 from Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson. Both recorded notable wins.

Aaron McKibbin finished in first place in his group recording a surprise win over the Slovak Republic’s Richard Csejtey, the 2006 World champion. The Englishman won in five games (11-4, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5) and designated his illustrious opponent to second place in the group. Russia’s Aleksei Saunin finished in third position ahead of Roy Van Der Burg of the Netherlands.

Similarly in the same event it was first place in the group for colleague, Ross Wilson. Unbeaten he finished ahead of Poland’s Marcin Skrzynecki, Australia’s Nathan Pellisier and Argentina’s Alejandro Perez.

Furthermore, both Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson booked quarter-final places. Direct entries to the second round, Ross Wilson accounted for Sweden’s former World no.1, Emil Andersson (7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4); Aaron McKibbin overcame Italy’s Francesco Lorenzini (11-3, 11-7, 11-6).

Pertinently, also through the round of the last eight is Ross Wilson’s next opponent Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh, the top seed. He beat Richard Csejtey (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4) to reserve his quarter-final place.

A successful day for Viktor Didukh, it was predominantly the same for the remaining leading names in the first stage of the Men’s Singles events; the one exception was in Class 9 where Spain’s Juan Bautista Perez was beaten by Poland’s Pawel Konstantyn (8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6).

Otherwise, the top seeds all enjoyed a day without defeat.

Additional to Rob Davies, Will Bayley and Viktor Didukh; Poland’s Rafal Czuper (Class 2), Frenchman Florian Merrien (Class 3), Turkey’s Abdullah Ozturk (Class 4) and Serbia’s Mitar Palikuca (Class 5) ended the day without defeat.

Similarly there was success for Spain’s Alvero Valera (Class 6), Poland’s Patryk Chojnowski (Class 10) and Belgium’s Florian Van Acker (Class 11).

Play in the Men’s Singles events concludes on Sunday 7th May.

 Basic Umpires Course in the Dominican Republic
Photos: Urban Urbanc/Sportida

2017 Thermana Lasko 14th Slovenia Para Open: Latest Results (Saturday 6th May)

Paralympics Para Table Tennis 2017 Thermana Lasko 14th Slovenia Para Open