Bronze medallist just over ten months ago in Tokyo, on Thursday 2nd June in Podgorica, Germany’s Stephanie Grebe secured the first title to be decided at the first ever ITTF Montenegrin Para Championships.
However, she was not necessarily the player to attract the attention; that privilege belonged to the host nation’s Luka Bakic.
Stephanie Grebe won women’s singles class 6; in a group organised event she justified her top seeded position to finish ahead of Poland’s Barbara Jablonka, Montenegro’s Milijana Cirkovic and Eirini Drakonaki from Greece.
Gold as status predicted, for Luka Bakic, competing in men’s singles class 10, it was rather different, he upset the order of merit.
Likewise in a group administered competition, he ended the day unbeaten, most notably accounting for two Paralympic Games bronze medallists.
He overcame Austria’s Krisztian Gardos, third place in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro (11-7, 11-7, 11-7), after having emerged successful earlier in the day when facing colleague Filip Radovic, semi-finalist in Tokyo (10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4).
Significantly, the result recorded against Filip Radovic was a total reversal of fortunes; in May they had met in the final in France, on that occasion Filip Radovic had prevailed in straight games (11-3, 11-8, 11-5).
Unbeaten throughout the day, Luka Bakic now meets Spain’s Jorge Cardona in his one remaining group stage contest.
Alas for the Spaniard the opening day of action was not one he will care to remember. He ended the day without a win to his name.
Defeat for the top seed, but in all other events, it was a day without blemish for the principal names.
In the men’s singles wheelchair categories, Poland’s Rafal Czuper (class 2) and Krszyzstof Zylka (class 4) booked semi-final places, as did Germany’s Thomas Brüchle (class 3) and Norway’s Tommy Urhaug (class 5).
Similarly in the standing events, there were penultimate round places for Spain’s Alvaro Valera (class 6) and Jordi Morales (class 7); a situation that applied also to Belgium’s Marc Ledoux (class 8) and Israel’s Aviv Gordon (class 9).
Meanwhile, as with Stephanie Grebe, in the women’s singles there was no stopping the leading names.
Serbia’s Ana Prvulovic (class 1-2) and colleague Borislava Peric-Rankovic (class 4-5) ended the day unbeaten, as did Croatia’s Andela Muzinic (class 3) and Norway’s Aida Dahlen (class 7-9).
Play in the men’s singles and women’s singles events concludes on Friday 3rd June.