Many of the world’s best players will clash in Bratislava for the International Table Tennis (ITTF) Para Table Tennis Slovakia Open, with competition set to begin Wednesday (11 May).
Spain’s Alvaro Valera, Great Britain’s Will Bayley and Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh are among the athletes fresh off victories from last week’s Slovenia Open in Lasko, and sit atop the rankings in the men’s singles class 6, 7 and 8, respectively.
Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger will look to build off his upset victory from Lasko after taking down China’s top-ranked Panfeng Feng in the men’s singles class 3.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s world No. 1 Abdullah Ozturk will aim to make up for his loss last week, after falling to fellow countryman Nesim Turan in the finals of the men’s class 4. With Turan also in Bratislava, the men’s class 4 tournament may feature another all-Turkish showdown.
No. 4 ranked Melissa Tapper is one to watch in the women’s singles class 10, especially after becoming the first Australian to qualify for both the Paralympic and Olympic Games in the same year.
Brazil’s No. 3 Bruna Costa Alexandre and Serbia’s No. 2 Borislava Peric-Rankovic will seek to make up for their finals losses in Lasko, as they lead the way in the in the women’s singles class 10 and 4 competition, respectively.
The men’s singles class 1 will be loaded with talent, as Great Britain’s Robert Davies, France’s Jean-Francois Ducay and Germany’s Holger Nikelis – ranked No. 1, 2 and 3, respectively – are expected to battle for the top of the podium. All competed in Lasko, with Davies taking the golden prize.
Slovakia’s Jan Riapos headlines the stars to watch for the hosts. Ranked No. 6 in the men’s singles class 2, the Slovakian will look to better his performance from Lasko, where he did not make it out the first round.
About 270 athletes from 38 countries are expected to participate at the same site where the 2017 ITTF World Para-Table Tennis Championship in team events will be held.