Megan Shackleton & Sue Gilroy (ITTF picture)

Brits set up para medal haul

Francesca Bullock

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The British team is assured of six team medals going in to the final day of competition at the PTT Slovenia Open in Lasko tomorrow having reached the semi-finals in women’s class 4, men’s class 5, men’s class 7, men’s class 8, men’s class 9 and men’s class 10.

Women’s class 4

Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton looked sharp in winning their doubles against the Italian Carlotta Ragazzini and Jelena Sisic from Croatia 3-0 and Gilroy then fought back from 2-0 down to beat Ragazzini 11-7 in the fifth to win the tie 2-0. They played well again in the doubles against the Serbian partnership of Borislava Peric-Rankovic and Nada Matic but the World champions took the match 11-7 in the fifth and Paralympic champion Peric-Rankovic used all her experience to beat Shackleton 3-1 to give Serbia a 2-0 win.

The British pair had to win their final group match against Slovenia and came through a tough doubles match 11-6 in the fifth after Andreja Dolinar and Barbara Meglic had fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2. Gilroy then secured a place in the semi-finals with a 3-1 win against Meglic.

Men’s class 5

After beating Argentina last night Jack Hunter-Spivey and his Norwegian team partner Tommy Urhaug progressed to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win against Germany 2, Hunter-Spivey beating Jan Guertler 3-1 after combining with Urhaug for a comfortable win in the doubles. In the quarter-final against Serbia, Hunter-Spivey and Urhaug took the doubles 3-0 and Urhaug beat Mitar Palikuca to take his team through to the semi-finals.

Men’s class 7

Will Bayley has joined forces with his old rival Jochen Wollmert, the three-time Paralympic champion from Germany, and after beating the Swiss/Argentinian partnership of Thomas Rosenast and Aleksy Kaniuka 2-0 last night they fought back from 2-0 down in the doubles to beat the Polish team of Maksym Chudzicki and Michal Deigsler 11-7 in the fifth before Bayley beat Deigsler 3-0 to win their group and secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Against Denmark they won the doubles 3-1 and Wollmert beat Henrik Brammer 3-1 to ensure that he and Bayley will take a medal together tomorrow.

Men’s class 8

Having started with a 2-0 win against the Swedish/Norwegian combination of Fabian Rignell and Steffen Salomonsen last night Aaron McKibbin, Billy Shilton and Ross Wilson won their group and their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win against Hungary. McKibbin and Shilton won the doubles 3-0 and McKibbin won the tie with a 3-0 win against Gyula Zborai.

With Wilson rested, McKibbin and Shilton took on the experienced Polish team of Marcin Skrzynecki and Piotr Grudzien and came from 2-1 down to win the doubles 11-6 in the fifth. Shilton then produced a brilliant performance to beat the London 2012 team gold medallist and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Grudzien 3-2, holding his nerve superbly after the Polish player had levelled the match at 2-2.

Men’s class 9

Ashley Facey Thompson and Josh Stacey combined to beat Wong Chi and Lam Ka from Hong Kong in the doubles 3-0 and Stacey then won the tie with a 3-0 win against Wong. Against the Hungarian/Malaysian partnership of Dezso Bereczki and Chao Ming Chee they recovered from dropping the first set to win the doubles 3-1 and Stacey beat the experienced World number 11 Bereczki 3-1 to secure top place in the group and a bye into tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Men’s class 10

Kim Daybell and Filip Radovic from Montenegro won their opening doubles against Japan last night and Radovic then came through a long battle against Nariaki Kakita, fighting back from 2-1 down to take their singles 11-9 in the fifth. They ensured top place in their group with a 2-0 win against Malaysia/South Africa/Korea after Daybell secured the tie with a 3-0 win against Chang-hoe Choe and received a bye into tomorrow’s semi-final.

Men’s class 1

The Swiss/French combination of Sylvio Keller and Alan Papirer won the doubles against Tom Matthews and Paul Davies but Davies dug deep to beat Keller 3-2 and Rob Davies then secured the tie with a 3-0 win against Papirer. Such is the strength of Korea in men’s class 1 that World number four and Rio bronze medallist KiWon Nam is in their second team and he combined with Sung Joo Park to beat Matthews and Paul Davies in the doubles 3-2. Paul Davies levelled the tie with a 3-1 win against Park but Nam edged a tense fourth set to beat Rob Davies 3-1 and win the tie for Korea2.

Needing to win their final group match against the Argentinian Fernando Eberhardt and Timo Natunen from Finland, Matthews and Paul Davies lost a long five set match in the doubles and Paul Davies was unable to play the first singles match due to a medical problem which resulted in Argentina/Finland winning the tie 2-0.

Men’s class 6

After losing the doubles in their opening match to Slovakia last night 3-1, Martin Perry and David Wetherill rescued the tie with singles wins against Alexander Nagy and Gabriel Csemy respectively. In their second match against Sweden, Paul Karabardak teamed up with Perry to win a very tight doubles match 3-2 and Perry took the British team into the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win against Michael Azulay.

Karabardak and Wetherill made a good start in the doubles against Korea, taking the first two sets 11 and 10, but Hong Kyu Park and Se Ho Lee battled back to win in five sets and went through to the semi-finals when Lee beat Perry 3-0 in the first singles.

Women’s class 6-7

Fliss Pickard and her partner Milijana Cirkovic from Montenegro had a tough start to their event with a 2-0 defeat to the class 7 second seeds Kubra Korkut fromTurkey and Bente Harenberg from Germany, Korkut beating the unranked Cirkovic 3-0 after winning the doubles with Harenberg. Pickard and Cirkovic lost the doubles in their second match to the top seeds from Russia and although Pickard won the first set against Maliak Alieva the World number four came back to win the match 3-1.

Their third match was equally tough against world No 1 Maryna Lytovchenko and Gabriela Constantin from Romania. Pickard and Cirkovic lost the doubles 3-0 and Lytovchenko secured the tie with a 3-0 win against Cirkovic.

Pickard and Cirkovic play their final match in the round-robin event against Sweden tomorrow.

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