Joshua Stacey takes class 9 gold in Greece in his first event since becoming Commonwealth Games Champion in August while it was bronze for Rob Davies in class 1. Joshua and Rob were part of a 17-strong team, including Grace Williams and Scott Robertson, who brought home 15 medals in total.
Men’s class 9
Joshua Stacey began with a 3-0 win against former Asian Championships team medallist Talgat Erekeyev from Kazakhstan and secured top place in his group and a bye into the semi-finals with a 3-0 win against David Pulpan from Czech Republic, the silver medallist in France and the Czech Republic last year. After edging the first set 13-11 the Welshman completed a 3-0 win against Kusnanto Kusnanto from Indonesia for the loss of only six points to take him into the final and a rematch with Pulpan. It was a different match today with the Czech player twice fighting back to level the match before Stacey secured the gold 11-6 in the fifth.
“It’s a good feeling to come away with the gold,” said Stacey. “Pulpan upped his level in the final and put me under a lot of pressure and I’m very glad to have got through it and been able to dominate in the fifth set. I’m really pleased and happy with the performance overall and to get the gold being number one seed.”
Men’s class 1
Rob Davies was a 3-0 winner against Jehan Madan from India and then lost in four close sets to the Korean World number eight Park Sung Joo, gold medallist in the Thailand Open. He secured his place in the semi-finals with a 3-0 win against Hassan Ibrahim from Kuwait and took on old rival Endre Major in the semi-finals. The pair have had some great battles in the past and although the Welshman started well, taking the first set 11-4, the Hungarian World number six, gold medallist in the Costa Brava Spanish Open earlier this year, is a tough competitor and he came back to take the next three sets 11-6/12-10/11-8 for a 3-1 win.
“It was a good game against Park,” said Davies, “and on another day I probably should have put him away and I would back myself to take him next time. But I’ve got to move forwards as that is what it is all about really – taking steps forward going to the Worlds and beyond. I know it is a slow process
learning to play matches again – keeping your composure and bringing your game rather than letting the opposition play their game. I’m looking forward to the Worlds and excited to see what I can do in the future. I’m happy to be back playing competitions and I’ve just got to turn it round now and start getting a few more Ws.”
Women’s class 8
Grace Williams lost 3-0 to Zsofia Arloy from Hungary, the World number five and three-time European medallist, and 3-0 to Lucie Hautiere from France, the Finland Open silver medallist and World number nine
Men’s class 5
Scott Robertson, lost 3-0 to Toru Nakamoto from Japan, the bronze medallist in France and Thailand this season, and did not progress to the knockout stages after a 3-2 loss to Roelofs.
Women’s doubles WD14
Grace Williams partnered with Fliss Pickard lost their first match 3-0 to Camelia Ciripan from Romania and Zsofia Arloy from Hungary but then beat Vaishnavi Sutar from India and Eirini Drakonaki from Greece 3-0 and secured the silver medal in the round-robin event by fighting back from 2-1 down to beat the French pair of class 8 World number nine Lucie Hautiere and class 6 world number six Morgen Caillaud from France 3-2.
“It was great to see Grace playing really well and with confidence,” said Pickard, “especially against France which was a really good result for us.”
Mixed doubles XD17
Joshua Stacey and Grace Williams lost 3-1 to the strong Hungarian pair of class 8 World number 10 Andras Csonka and class 9 World number two Alexa Szvitacs but kept their hopes of a place in the knockout stages alive with a 3-1 win against the Brazilian pair of Paulo Fonseca and Allana Maschio. Their final group match turned into a great battle as they fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 but Ben Despineux from Belgium and Ioana-Monica Tepelea from Romania just edged the final set 12-10 to take the semi-final place.
“Playing in doubles with both Fliss and Josh is an experience that helps me to develop my overall game,” said Williams, “as they are both amazing players. I’m very pleased with the silver that Fliss and I won; Josh and I both played well in the last group match coming back from 2-0 down and bringing it back to 2-2.”