Paralympic champion Will Bayley and Rio team medallist Ross Wilson won gold today in their respective singles events at the PTT Bayreuth Open in Germany and Martin Perry took bronze.
Bayley reached the final of the men’s class 7 singles without dropping a set – topping his group and beating Miroslav Jambor from Slovakia in the quarter-finals and Kazuya Kaneko from Japan in the semi-final to set up a final clash with Maksym Nikolenko, the Ukrainian who had replaced Bayley as World number one earlier this month.
Nikolenko took the first two sets but 29 year old Bayley fought back tenaciously to win the next three 7, 6 and 4 and take the match 3-2.
“I’m so happy to win the gold,” said Bayley. “It was amazing to have coach Andrew Rushton in my corner and the gold medal was a perfect end to a very good singles performance. At 2-0 down in the final I changed my tactics and started to play more positively. After he dominated the first two sets I managed to dominate the last three.”
Wilson was equally impressive in reaching the final of men’s class 8 – topping his group and winning both his quarter-final against Marcin Skrzynecki from Poland and his semi-final against the Ukrainian Ivan Mai from Ukraine 3-0. In the final he faced former World champion Richard Csejtey from Slovakia who had beaten World number one Viktor Didukh in the semi-finals and 21 year old Wilson also fought back from 2-1 down to take the match 11-3 in the fifth.
“I’ve had a really good competition,” said Wilson. “I’ve been training really hard and it’s gone well so I’m very happy. At 2-1 down in the final I changed a few things and got myself back into it. It’s nice to be back on top and winning again and I hopefully I can continue that form. We’ve done well here as a team so that is a positive going forward.”
Perry, 23, came through some tough matches on the way to the semi-final of men’s class 6 including a 3-2 win against Tim Laue from Germany in the quarter-finals. Against the Frenchman Bastien Grundeler he led 2-1 but eventually lost the match 17-15 in the fifth.
“I feel that I have had a very good competition,” said Perry. “I played some good stuff so it is all very positive. It was disappointing to lose the semi-final but when a match is that tight you’ve just got to say it was a great match and Bastien is a very good player. I’ve played three factor 40 competitions this year and reached the semi-final in two of them so I’ve got to be happy with that.”
Aaron McKibbin put up a great fight in his men’s class 8 quarter-final against World champion Didukh before losing 12-10 in the fifth while 18 year old Billy Shilton lost in three close sets to Csejtey. In men’s class 6 Paul Karabardak lost his quarter-final to the eventual gold medallist Ian Seidenfeld from the USA 3-0 and David Wetherill was beaten 3-1 by Grundeler. Ashley Facey-Thompson also lost a close quarter-final in men’s class 9 to the Italian Mohamed Kalem 3-2 and Paul Davies was beaten in his men’s class 1 quarter-final by Sung Joo Park from Korea who went on to take the gold.