Davies’ to go head-to-head as Bayley eyes up triple crown
Will Bayley’s bid for the triple crown is still alive after 11 British players kept themselves in contention for medals at the European Para Table Tennis Championships.
Paralympic gold medallist and world champion Bayley will be joined by fellow Rio 2016 champion Rob Davies in Saturday’s showcase finale - where a fellow Welshman will grace the other side of the table on the last day of the singles event in Lasko, Slovenia.
Bayley eased his way into the Class 7 quarter-finals with a 3-0 win against Nicklas Westerberg from Sweden in his second and final group match.
That means he’ll now play Frenchman Kevin Dourbecker in the last eight, knowing that three wins in succession would be enough for him to pick up another crown.
“He gave me a massive test in the Slovenia Open this year,” said Bayley of his last 16 match.
“He nearly beat me in the group stages so I knew he was going to play really good here.
"A lot of young players come out and play really well in their first major tournament so I was prepared for that and I’m happy to get over the line." Will Bayley
“I’m really happy with the way I’m playing because he could cause problems to every player in the world and take sets off them so to win a match like that 3-0 is a nice confidence boost going into the quarter-finals.”
Meanwhile Davies will play compatriot Paul Davies in the Class 1 semi-final, with both players knowing they are just one win away from a guaranteed silver medal.
Paul’s progression came in comfortable fashion, with a 3-0 win against Alan Papirer from France and then came through a tough quarter-final against Sylvio Keller from Switzerland.
Tom Matthews is also into the last four, earning a bye into the latter stages where he will play Federico Falco.
“I’m overjoyed – brilliant,” said Paul. “Sylvio is an awkward customer and the stuff he can do with the bat - you’ve got to give him a lot of respect because he plays good on the angles.
“He played really well and pushed me all the way so I’m just glad to get the win.
“There is going to be a lot of respect between us tomorrow.
"We know each other’s game so well so all we can do is give it 100% and whatever happens one of us will be in the final so that’s great.” Paul Davies
In Class 5, Jack Hunter-Spivey responded from losing his second group match to also reach the quarter-finals thanks to a comfortable 3-0 win against Gerardus Van Grunsven.
But it was to be a much tougher affair for Dave Wetherill in Class 6, coming from two sets down to ensure his Slovenian adventure would continue with a 3-2 success. He now plays the Spaniard Alberto Seoane Alcazar in tomorrow’s quarter-final.
It wasn’t to be for Martin Perry in Class 7, picking up valuable experience along the way, while Billy Shilton missed out in the last 16.
But it was to be a good day for Ross Wilson (men’s class 8), Ashley Facey Thompson (men’s class 9), Kim Daybell (men’s class 10), Sue Gilroy and Megan Shackleton (women’s class 4-5), all of whom reached the quarter-finals.