by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Nadejda Pushpasheva, the no.2 seed, needed the full five games to overcome Poland’s Dorota Bucklow (11-9, 13-15, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9), having accounted for Isabelle Lafaye of France in four games one round earlier (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8).
Notably, Dorota Bucklow was very much a player in form; in the penultimate round she had beaten Italy’s Giada Rossi, the top seed (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7).
A successful title defence for Nadejda Pushpasheva, in fact it was three in a row; in 2013 she had won in the Italian Adriatic resort of Lignano.
Three in succession for Nadejda Pushpasheva, for Anna-Carin Ahlquist, it was a fourth consecutive victory in Class 3; the unbeaten run starting in Split in 2011. The top seed and London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist; after having accounted for Turkey’s Hatice Duman in the semi-finals in three straight games (11-5, 11-6, 11-6), she needed to recover from an opening game deficit to beat Croatia’s Andela Muzinic to secure the top prize (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7).
Unquestionably the successes of Nadejda Pushpasheva and Anna-Carin Ahlquist are most impressive but neither can match Borislava Peric-Rankovic. Gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, she made it five European Women’s Singles titles without a break and she has a special liking for Slovenia.
She won her first in 2007 in Kranjska Gora when she claimed the Class 4 title; she repeated the success in 2009 in Genoa prior to two years later winning Class 4-5 gold in Lignano and retaining the title in 2015 in Vejle.
In Lasko, the top seed, she overcame Great Britain’s Sue Gilroy at the semi-final stage (11-7, 11-6, 11-4), prior to beating Germany Sandra Mikolaschek, the no.2 seed, in the final (11-7, 11-4, 15-17, 11-9).
“I’m really disappointed with how I played against Peric. Normally I give her a really good game and unfortunately I didn’t do that today. I’ve been out for the last three months after having surgery on my arm and I’ve only been back playing for six weeks so I didn’t expect to get a medal. It is brilliant to get a bronze. Fingers crossed I can turn it round in the team event and play to the standard I know I can play.” Sue Gilroy
Success against Sandra Mikolaschek and Serbian revenge; in corresponding penultimate round duel, Sandra Mikolaschek had beaten colleague Nada Matic, the player with whom Borislava Peric-Rankovic had won silver in Women’s Team Class 4-5 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Play in the individual events over, attention now turns to the team competitions.
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