by Francesca Bullock, British Para Table Tennis Team Press Officer
They are joined by Tom Matthews, Jack Hunter-Spivey, David Wetherill, Ross Wilson, Ashley Facey Thompson, Kim Daybell, Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton.
Men’s Class 1
After a dominant performance on the opening day against the Frenchman Alan Papirer, Rob Davies was unable to reproduce that form today. He lost in three close games to Fernando Eberhardt, the Pan American champion from Argentina (11-8, 11-8, 13-11).
Rob Davies went through in second place in the group after Fernando Eberhardt won his final match against Alan Papirer (4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 8-11, 11-3).
“I just wasn’t right mentally today. I really struggled to get into it and that was the difference in the end. At the moment it is a bit raw. I know I didn’t play as I can, so I’ve got to look forward to the next match now. My mentality has got to be better and my return of serve has definitely got to be better as well as my serving. We knew it was something I had to work on coming in here so I’ve still got lots to do.” Rob Davies
Meanwhile, Tom Matthews bounced back from the disappointment of losing his first match yesterday against the Korean Kim Hyeonuk (11-8, 11-7, 11-6) to beat the vastly experienced Italian World no.6 Andrea Borgato in five games (11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-7); his place in the knock-out stage was confirmed when Kim Hyeonuk overcame beat Andea Borgato (11-9, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8) in the final match of the group to leave Tom Matthews in second place.
“I’m really happy but a bit shaky at the moment. Borgato is a difficult character, he’s got a good game and he’s solid and he’s got a lot of experience on me so I’m over the moon to come through that. To give credit to Neil Robinson (coach) going into the fifth game he calmed me down a lot and just said “keep it simple, stop trying to attack everything” and that gave me a positive attitude on the table. I think I can improve on being positive with my game and inflicting my game on my opponent instead of letting them dictate the rallies. I feel that I am on the level I should be but I’ve got to focus on my game and carry on going.” Tom Matthews
Progress for Rob Davies and Tom Matthews but not for Paul Davies; he was beaten by Argentina’s Guillermo Bustamente (11-9, 12-10, 13-11) and thus having earlier in the day suffered defeat against Hungary’s Endre Major, the no.3 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-1), he had to settle for third place in his group.
“I wasn’t at my best. It just didn’t click for me today. Bustamente was the better player and you can’t take that away from him. The loss I had earlier wasn’t the best either, so it’s back to the drawing board. I’ve got to work a bit harder but no excuses; they played better on the day and deserved to win.” Paul Davies
Men’s Class 5
Jack Hunter-Spivey came up against Cheng Ming-Chih from Chinese Taipei, who was ranked as high as no.2 in the world last year and recently lost a five game final to Paralympic champion and World no.1, China’s Cao Ningning at the Asian Para Games. The 39 year old took the first games and although Hunter-Spivey fought back to take the third Cheng Ming-Chih emerged successful (12-10, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8).
“Overall I feel that I played fine. It wasn’t my best level but it wasn’t my worst either. Tactically I think I got it a bit wrong and towards the end I felt that I played the right way but it is too late when you are wo-nil down. Some of the shots I have been working on in training paid off, so I’ll see what happens in the next round. At the last World Championships I was a reserve that got in and was seeded third in my group and now I’m number six seed in the tournament and it is a different type of feeling. I’m enjoying it and enjoying the atmosphere so I just want to play at my best level.” Jack Hunter Spivey
Men’s Class 6
David Wetherill already through the previous day, Paul Karabardak was bitterly disappointed to lose his second match to 19 year old Kazuki Shichino from Japan (11-9, 14-12, 11-6). It meant that the 33 year old Welshman did not join his team mate in the knock-out stages. The previous day he had lost to Romania’s Bobi Simon, the no.5 seed (11-6, 11-5, 14-12).
“I felt that if I could go out there and play my game I’d have too much for him but I was too nervous. I didn’t play the way I wanted to play and I let him do what he wanted to do and that is why he won. It’s tough because I like to get into the tournament and get a win under my belt and get a bit of confidence but when you’ve lost the first group match it is always going to be harder going into the second match.” Paul Karabardak
Men’s Class 7
Will Bayley started his match against Stéphane Messi in great form and was quickly two-nil up but the World no.7 from France is a former Paralympic champion and he forced his way back into the match. Will Bayley eventually succeeded in four games (11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).
“I felt that I played some of my best table tennis in the first two games, especially in the second game. I just wanted to close it out in the third and maybe I forced it a bit. When he won it he gained a bit of confidence and started moving me around and played tactically smart against me, so I’m really grateful to pull through and looking forward to the quarter-finals. To be honest I haven’t got a brilliant record in the group stages, I always seem to come through them but scrappily and then I seem to gain momentum and that is what I feel like I’m doing again here. Hopefully in the quarter finals I can push on again.” Will Bayley
Men’s Class 8
After losing his first match yesterday to defending champion and World no.1 Viktor Didukh (12-10, 11-6, 11-7), Aaron McKibbin had to beat a former World champion in Richard Csejtey today in order to progress but could not find his best form against the experienced Slovakian who prevailed in four games (12-10. 11-8, 9-11, 11-4).
“I just didn’t play well to be honest. I’ve had a really good year and I was really looking forward to playing here but it is probably the worst I have played in a major. The first game was the story of the tournament for me. I was leading quite comfortably and then I lost it and the match turned on its head suddenly.” Aaron McKibbin
Men’s Class 9
Ashley Facey Thompson has been a revelation this season. He made it three wins from three in his group with a straight games win over Chee Chao-Ming (11-8, 11-8, 11-7).
“It’s been an amazing two days. They couldn’t have gone better. Today, my opponent has improved since the last time I played him in Slovakia so I had to work even harder. Credit to him he played well but I had the upper hand in the end. I was very nervous today but my experience helped me to fight back in the first two games. It has given me a lot of confidence to know that I can be down against a top player and come back so I’m really happy with how I performed today and I can’t wait for the quarter-finals now.” Ashley Facey Thompson
Men’s Class 10
Kim Daybell beat Claudio Massad in three straight games (11-7, 11-5, 13-11) after having the previous day lost to Frenchman Mateo Boheas in five games (7-11, 11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-8): his future in the balance, Claudio Massad came to the rescue. He beat Mateo Boheas in four games (12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8). Thus on games ratio it was first place for Kim Daybell (5:3), followed by Matteo Boheas (4:5) and Claudio Massad (3:4).
Women’s Class 4
After a promising performance yesterday against Paralympic champion Borislava Peric-Rankovic, 19 year old Megan Shackleton secured her place in the knock-out stages at her first World Championships by beating World no.10, Chinese Taipei’s Lu Pi-Chun (14-12, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5).
“I feel amazing right now. I’ve been training really hard back home and training full time since I finished sixth form and that is starting to pay off for me. That was one of my best wins yet and it does give me confidence going into the next round. I always try and focus on myself and concentrate on my strengths so I’ll be focusing on my attacking style and hoping to bring that out in the next match.” Megan Shackleton
Notably, Sue Gilroy also progressed with a three-nil win against the Pan American champion Martha Verdin from Mexico (11-7, 11-6, 11-7).
“I played a lot better today. I didn’t play well yesterday but thank goodness I’m starting to play at the standard that I can. I’ve just got to try and do what I’ve been working so hard on in training and play my game rather than my opponents. Yesterday I let them dominate the game rather than playing the way I know I can. I always get nervous on the first day of majors and then get better during the tournament. I’ve made it out of the groups so now I just need to dig in and start playing my game.” Sue Gilroy
Women’s Class 6
Fliss Pickard plays her second and final group match against Gabriela Constantin from Romania on Friday 19th October.
2018 World Para Championships: Results and Draws