by Ian Marshall, Editor
Competing in class 7, Pavao Jozic accounted for Spain’s Jordi Morales, the no.2 seed and reigning world champion (10-12, 12-10, 3-11, 12-10, 11-8); a hard fought success it was the same for Dezso Bereczki in class 9, he overcame Italy’s Mohamed Amine Kalem, also the no.2 seed and bronze medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10).
More Spanish heartache
Likewise, Kim Daybell, silver medallist at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games accounted for the no.2 seed and in so doing caused Spain more heartache; in class 10, he beat José Manuel Ruiz (11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7), a player with an outstanding record in major international tournaments. At the European Championships in 2001, 2007 and 2009 he secured gold, a feat he also achieved at the 2010 World Championships in Gwangju, Korea Republic.
“I’m really pleased. Obviously it is nice to get the result but I think the feeling I had on the table and the way I portrayed myself was really good, I’m proud of that. I have struggled this season mentally a little bit so it feels really good to get the win. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s a really good player and he’s beaten me a lot of times so any win against him is really difficult. He’s a tough opponent even when things are not going his way as he’s very clever so I was pleased, especially after going 2-1 down, I thought the way I came back was good.” Kim Daybell
Testing times, also in class 9, Ukraine’s Lev Kats upset the order of merit by beating Russia’s Iuri Nozdrunov, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-6, 12-10), as in class 10 did Montenegro’s Filip Radovic, he overcame Frenchman Matteas Boheas, the no.4 seed (13-11, 11-7, 10-12, 13-11). Pertinently, Iuri Nozdrunov has a most creditable record at the Para European Championships, in 2013 and 2015 he was a bronze medallist, in 2009 and 2017 a silver medal winner.
Impressive performances, in the men’s singles events it was the same in class 1 where Great Britain’s Tom Matthews, bronze medallist at the 2018 Para World Championships, beat Italy’s Andrea Borgato (11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8) and Serbia’s Goran Perlic overcame Ukraine’s Oleksandr Yezyk (12-10, 11-8, 12-10). Both Andrea Borgato and Oleksandr Yezyk occupied the no.3 seeded position, Oleksandr Yezyk having been a bronze medallist at the Para European Championships in 2013 in Lignano and two years later in Vejle.
“I’m really pleased with my performance. I kept my head throughout the match and even at 2-1 down I felt quite confident to come out of that game. He is such an experienced player; he has been there before and been to Paralympics so to beat him on a stage like this is an amazing feeling to be honest. I’ve just got to keep taking it one match at a time and see where it goes from here. I’m feeling quite confident and feeling good so let’s see where it goes.” Tom Matthews
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles competition, Dorota Nowacka was very much the player centre stage, in class 11 she accounted for Ukraine’s Natalia Kosmina, the no.2 seed (12-14, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7), the reigning European champion in addition to being gold medallist at the 2013 Para European Championships and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Success for Poland, in the same category the nation enjoyed further success against the odds. Krystina Lysiak beat Russia’s Anzhelika Kosavheva, the no.3 seed (8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9). A fine effort from Krystina Lysiak, in 2011 Anzhelika Kosavheva was crowned European champion, in 2014 the World champion.
Good form from Polish players; it was the same in the women’s singles for Sweden’s Ingela Lundbäck, Germany’s Stephanie Grebe and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic. In class 4, Ingela Lundbäck beat Great Britain’s Sue Gilroy, the no.4 seed and 2005 European champion (11-7, 11-9, 11-8); in class Stephanie Grebe overcame Russia’s Maliak Alieva, the 3 seed (11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).
Meanwhile, not to be overshadowed, in class 10, it was success for Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic; she defeated Turkey’s Unran Ertis, the no.3 seed (6-11, 2-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-4) and gold medallist at the 2013 Para European Championships.
Problems for notable names but only one defeat; players finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the main draw, the door is open.
2019 ITTF European Para Championships: Latest Draws and Results