World number one Alvaro Valera of Spain silenced the partisan crowd inside the Spektrum Arena by claiming a thrilling five-game victory over home favourite Peter Rosenmeier to take men’s class six gold at the Para-Table Tennis European Championships in Velje.
In a pulsating contest between the top two seeds, Valera was able to edge over the winning line by clinching an 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-7 success to reassert his dominance of the category.
“It was a really tough match,” the Spaniard, the Sydney 2000 Paralympic champion and two-times Paralympic silver medallist, said.
“The Danish player was very strong and was playing here at home.
“I just played a good match and took the title home.”
Elsewhere on a packed day of singles finals in Denmark, 15-year-old Laurens Devos of Belgium produced a stunning display to secure the men’s class nine title with a shock 11-7, 13-11, 4-11, 11-5 victory over Russian number two seed Iurii Nodrozunov.
Britain’s Will Bayley had avenged his London 2012 gold medal match defeat to Jochen Wollmert by beating the German in the semi-finals but was also the victim of a surprise defeat as he lost 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 to Jean-Paul Montanus in the class seven final.
Robert Davies ensured Britain went home with gold though as he sealed the men’s class one title with an 11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 4-11, 11-6 triumph over Frenchman Jean-François Ducay.
Lucas Creange of France was unable to repeat his semi-final heroics, where he accounted for Hungarian Paralympic champion Peter Polas, as he suffered a straight games class 11 defeat at the hands of Florian Van Acker of Belgium.
In the women’s competition, Poland’s three-time Paralympic champion Natalia Partyka secured her spot at Rio 2016 as she cruised to the class 10 crown with a dominant 11-4, 11-2, 11-5 win over Denmark’s Sophie Walloe.
Norwegian Aida Dahlen didn’t find her match quite as comfortable as she fought back from 6-1 down in the final game to edge Germany’s Juliane Wolf 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-8 in the class eight final.
In class one, Russia’s Nadejda Pushpasheva beat Ireland’s Reena McCarron-Rooney 11-4, 11-5, 11-7, while Sweden’s Anna-Carin Ahlqhuist took the class three honours thanks to a 11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4 win against Andela Muzinic of Croatia.
October 2015: Paralympic champion suffers shock defeat at ITTF Para-Table Tennis European Championships