In men’s class 8 both Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin needed to win their second matches in this evening’s session at Riocentro to keep their singles hopes alive. McKibbin looked to be heading for a 3-0 win against the former World number one Marc Ledoux but the Belgian saved three match points in taking the third before McKibbin clinched the match 11-3 in the fourth.
“I loved every second of it,” said McKibbin. “I’ve had the whole day to prepare and I think I’ve done myself justice. I’m a bit disappointed not to have closed out the third set at 10-7; from 10-7 to 10-9 I think I tried to finish it off a bit too early and from then maybe nerves kicked in a little bit. I can’t be too disappointed as I couldn’t really have played much better. It is the most comfortable I’ve ever beaten him and he’s a very good player – he beat the world number three yesterday so he’s not an easy player to beat.”
With all three players in the group registering one win it was decided on countback and McKibbin goes through to the knockout stages as the group winner.
After dropping the first set against Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland, Wilson fought back bravely to take the second and had chances in the third and fourth deuce sets but could not quite close them out and lost the match 3-1.
“I left it all out there; I just didn’t have enough today or yesterday,” said a very disappointed Wilson. “I really wanted to have enough just for everyone who has supported me and really give something back to them and for myself as well. I’ve put so much time and effort into this and to go out in the group stages is just so disappointing. They are both great players – one got a bronze medal in the singles in London and the other got a gold medal in team but I just didn’t take my chances today. Hopefully I can have a few days rest and reflect on how those matches have gone and try and come back stronger for the team event. I know the boys deserve it more than anything and I will give absolutely everything to try and get them a medal.”
After his loss to World champion Valentin Baus this morning Jack Hunter-Spivey was back in the hall this evening for his second match knowing that he had to beat Claudiomiro Segatto from Brazil to progress to the knockout stages. He made a great start and was 2-0 up but after Segatto took a tight third set 12-10 the Brazilian always had the upper hand and although Hunter-Spivey kept fighting he took the match 11-8 in the fifth to the delight of the home crowd.
“I felt really good at the start,” said Hunter-Spivey. “The first two sets I was flying and felt really comfortable. He played a lot better in the third set but the atmosphere got to me a little bit – I didn’t feel nervous I just felt a bit numb and I was a bit too passive. I feel that I let myself down having been 2-0 up. I just lost my concentration a little bit in the third set – I thought I could get him back in the fourth but he upped his game and the crowd got behind him. But it is my first Games and experience is all it counts for really. It was a good experience but I’m disappointed. I’ve lived my dream of being a Paralympian – that was a dream from when I was 10 years old. There are a lot of positives to take out of this and all sorts of things I can work on and I’ll be back in the future to win more matches.”
Having lost a marathon five set match this morning to the Korean Hong Kyu Park, Paul Karabardak had to beat Matias Pino Lorca from Chile to make it through to the knockout stages of men’s class 6. Once again he started well and led 2-0 but Pino Lorca fought back to level at 2-2 and cheered on by the Chilean contingent in the crowd he clinched the fifth set 11-8 and the match 3-2.
“I think he played well – I don’t think I was quite at my best but he did well to take advantage of that,” said Karabardak. “When he took the third set it knocked my confidence a bit and even though I knew I had a good chance to win I couldn’t get ahead of him and he kept it tight. It’s a very disappointing loss because I’m ranked a lot higher and I felt I could have done better but credit to him he played a great game and the better man won today.”