Demanding opening day, notable performances

Photo :|17-Sep-2019 12:30

A busy first day, Monday 16th September, at the 2019 ITTF Para European Championships in Helsingborg; Croatia’s Pavao Jozic, Hungary’s Dezso Bereczki and Great Britain’s Kim Daybell emerged very much the players to attract the attention as the men’s singles events commenced.

In the women’s singles, name to shine was that of Poland’s Dorota Nowacka.

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.

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.

Inspired performances
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.

Polish success
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.

Excellent form
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.