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Davies books place in semi-finals at European Championships

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3 weeks ago

Paralympic champion Rob Davies booked his place in the semi-finals of the European Para Table Tennis Championships following an enthralling opening day in Slovenia.

Having defeated Dmitry Lavrov 3-0 in his opening match, world number four Davies (Class 1) was taken the distance by Federico Falco after being 2-1 down in his second match of the day.

The Brit battled back to win 11-6 in the fourth set and triumph 11-9 in a nervy decider to secure his spot in the semi-finals, which will take place on Saturday.

“I knew it would be a battle with Falco,” said the reigning European champion.

“We have had some tough games of late and to beat him 3-2 again is pretty satisfying. Obviously I’d like to do it a bit easier but I’ll try that next time I play him.

"I’ve just got to keep battling - that is the main thing at the moment. I’m not quite at my best but I’m hoping I can get there for later on in the tournament.

"I’m just really happy with the result: two from two - you can’t get better than that. I’m definitely going to battle for as long as I can.”

Looking to hold all three major titles at the same time, fellow Paralympic champion Will Bayley (Class 7) will play his final round robin match tomorrow having confidently dispatched Switzerland’s Thomas Rosenast in three sets.

Following his opening match victory, Bayley said: “It’s always difficult getting your first few points from at a major tournament and I felt a little bit nervous at the start but I then eased into it and started to play well towards the end of the match.

“I’ve got a lot more to give and I still say this year I’ve been playing my best table tennis. I just need to prove it here and take it one match at a time.”

There was plenty more success for Great Britain in Slovenia as David Wetherill (Class 6) prolonged his tournament, making it through to the last 16.

The 27-year-old made light work of Italian Raimondo Alecci in three sets and will return to action on Friday.

Elsewhere, Sue Gilroy (Class 4) made the perfect start to her campaign with a 3-0 victory over Biljana Ubovic as 18-year-old Megan Shackleton made no mistake in her women’s Class 4 singles match with a three sets win over Jelena Sisic.

It was back-to-back wins for Kim Daybell on day one in the men’s Class 10 singles - winning 3-0 and then 3-1 in the final match of the day against Jose Manuel Ruiz.

There were victories too for three-time Paralympian Paul Karabardak (Class 6), Paul Davies (Class 1) and Jack Hunter-Spivey (Class 5).

But it would be a mixed day for Ashley Facey Thompson who recovered from defeat in the first match to defeat Poland’s Pawel Jablonski 3-1 and ensure he still has a chance of making it out of the group stage.

There would be no dream start, however, for Fliss Pickard (Class 6) who went down 3-1 to world number two Maryna Lytovchenko, while both Billy Shilton and Ross Wilson (both Class 8) will need victory to progress tomorrow.

Aaron McKibbin (Class 8) will also head into his final round robin match needing a win to progress into the last 16 after losing to America’s Kent Anderson in four sets, as will Martin Perry (Class 6) after he lost his opening match.

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