The British team took two medals in the doubles events on the final day of the ITTF Polish Para Open in Wladyslawowo. Ashley Facey and Billy Shilton took bronze in men’s class 18 and Paul Karabardak combined with Spaniard Alejandro Diaz to take bronze in men’s class 14.
Men’s class 14
Paul Karabardak and class 8 Alejandro Diaz fought back from 2-0 down to beat Lam Ka Wai and Choy Hing Lam from Hong Kong China 3-2 and topped their group after a 3-1 win against Piotr Manturz and Marcin Zielinski from Poland.
They won 3-0 against Benedikt Muller and Henrik Meyer from Germany in the quarter-final but never recovered from a slow start in their semi-final against the class 7 pair of Michal Deigsler and world and Paralympic bronze medallist Maksym Chudzicki from Poland, who edged a close third set 12-10 to complete a 3-0 win.
“I think Alejandro and I played well and formed a really good partnership,” said Karabardak. “We had some good wins in the group and beat a difficult German team.
“It was disappointing to lose the semi-final to Poland and I feel we played well but they were very quick and attacked a bit too strongly for us. I’m pleased to have won bronze with Alejandro and really enjoyed playing with him.”
Men’s class 18
Ashley Facey and Billy Shilton began with a 3-0 win against Dawid Sowa and Mariusz Matejek from Poland and then recovered from losing the first set to beat Ander Cepas from Spain and Wong Chi Yin from Hong Kong China 3-1.
They finished top of group 3 after a 3-0 win against Krizander Magnussen from Norway and Dominik Bartosik from Poland and won their quarter-final against Chen Hsien Jue from Chinese Taipei and Nicklas Westerberg from Sweden 3-0.
That took them through to face the formidable partnership of class 8 world No 3 Piotr Grudzien and class 10 world and Paralympic champion Patryk Chojnowski and they made a great start taking a tight first set 14-12. However, the Polish pair levelled at 1-1 and just had the edge in a close match for a 3-1 win.
“Obviously disappointing to have lost the semi-final,” said Shilton. “They are a very strong pair but we won the first set and had chances throughout the match.
“Ash and I felt very comfortable and considering that was the first time we have played together internationally we worked well as a team and gave a good account of ourselves. I’m happy to have taken another medal and now it’s on to the next tournament.”
“We played really well in our first tournament together,” said Facey, “and played as a team. We had big chances in the semi-final and sadly we didn’t take them, but we took a very good team close, and it was a privilege to play with Billy.”
In group 1 Joe Crouse and Andres Beroiza from Chile were beaten 3-0 by Piotr Grudzien and Patryk Chojnowski and did not progress after a 3-1 loss to Steffen Salomonsen and Pablo Jacobsen, saving five match points before losing 13-11 in the fourth to the Norwegians.
In group 2, Daniel Mead and Theo Bishop also went out at the group stage after losing 3-0 to Dezso Bereczki and Andras Csonka from Hungary and 3-0 to Chen Hsien Jue and Nicklas Westerberg.
Men’s class 4 RR
Andrew Guy and Chen Baruch from Israel lost 3-1 to Miguel Toledo and Daniel Rodriguez from Spain and 3-0 to Tomas Jakimczuk and Rafal Czuper, the world bronze medallists from Poland. They had chances to take the second set in their final match against Park Sung Joo from Republic of Korea and Janusz Chamot from Poland but lost it 13-11 and the match 3-0.
Women’s class 20 RR
Grace Williams and Bly Twomey lost 3-0 to world bronze medallists Merve Demir and Neslihan Kavas from Turkey and 3-0 to class 9 world No 1 Alexa Szvitacs from Hungary and class 10 Anja Handen from Sweden. They dropped the first set to Freja Larsen and Thea Nielsen from Denmark but came back strongly to take the next three and finish with a 3-1 win.
Mixed class 4-10
With the mixed wheelchair classes combined it was a tough challenge for class 2 Andrew Guy and his Brazilian partner class two world No 9 Carla Maia Limp de Azevedo and they did not progress after 3-0 losses to Ali Ozturk and Irem Oluk from Turkey, Nesim Turan and Hatice Duman from Turkey and Mladen Ciric and Borislava Peric-Rankovic from Serbia.
Mixed class 14
Teenagers Theo Bishop and Bly Twomey lost in four close sets to Sam Gustafsson and Cajsa Stadler from Sweden and 3-1 to Benedikt Muller and Nina Reck from Germany. Although they didn’t progress, they finished on a high with a 3-1 win against the top-ranked pair in their group Piotr Manturz and Magdalena Sutkowska Pawlasek from Poland.
Mixed class 17-20
Joe Crouse and Grace Williams lost 3-0 to Andras Csonka and Alexa Szvitacs from Hungary and 3-0 to Wong Chi Yin and Lam Yan Yu from Hong Kong China. They did not progress after a 3-0 loss to world bronze medallists Piotr Grudzien and Karolina Pek from Poland.