Slovenian table tennis players have ended the first competition day at SPINT 2018 – 2018 World Para Table Tennis Championship without a win. The group stage will conclude today, when the Slovenian trio has four more matches to play.

After the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening, the competition began yesterday at SPINT 2018, the biggest sporting event in Slovenia this year.

:: Official results and schedule

Well before the tournament started, the Slovenian national team was aware they should not aim too high as all three Slovenian representatives were only allowed to participate by special invitations and their draws were extremely tough, too. But Luka Trtnik, Barbara Meglič and Primož Kancler did, naturally, not surrender without a fight.  

Close match against the Turkish player

The first Slovenian to enter the field of play was Meglič, competing in class SF4, who was clearly nervous during her first performance. Her opponent Xiaodan Gu from China was superiorly better by 3-1. Meglič had another match in the afternoon of the first day, against Irem Oluk from Turkey. The Slovenian won the first set by 11-8, but closely lost the following three (8, 10, 9). She was especially close to winning the third set, when she turned 5-10 into 10-10, but did not manage a complete turn over.

“This player’s game is the most familiar to me. I came just a bit short in the end, but I will try to make this up in the future. It is good to be able to come back from being behind, but you regret losing the points in the end even more. To summarize day one: the first half was not great, the second better, and I hope my match today will be more like the second half of yesterday,” Meglič commented on her yesterday’s performances.

Primož Kancler took on Xiang Zhai in his first duel of class SM3 and was also close to succeeding. He lost the first set, won the second and closely lost the third after having a set point at 10-9. The Chinese then won again and ended the match by 3-1 (5, -8, 10, 6).

Doing the very best

“I played well, the third set was really close and could have ended with my win. I might have ended points too eagerly and too fast, instead of returning a ball or two more. I might have been too quick. I wanted to do my best, I didn’t feel any pressure, I was relaxed, perhaps even too much, which is why some mistakes happened, which could have been avoided,” said Kancler after his duel and added that he knows his next two opponents well and will be aiming for a win especially against the American Jenson van Emburgh. However, he did not succeed.

While Megilč and Kancler both played two matches yesterday, Luka Trtnik only played entered the stage once. He started more than well against Jordi Morales from Spain in class SM7, winning by 14-12, but that had to admit the opponent’s superiority, having lost the following three sets and the match.   

“My hands were shaking a bit in the beginning, as usually, although I don’t really know why. I am not entirely content, but I have to focus on the following matches now. I am always a little bit nervous, but I did enjoy myself when seeing my family and fans. I will be approaching the next opponents with extreme seriousness, I will be aiming to win, although I know I have a tough day ahead of me. I hope I will be more successful,” Trtnik said on his first day at SPINT 2018 and the matches that await him today.

The group stage of the championship will conclude today and the Slovenia team has four more matches to take on: Trtnik against Pavo Jozić from Croatia and Jean-Paul Montanus from the Netherlands, Kancler against the Ukrainian Vasili Petruniv, while Meglič will compete against the Serbian Nada Matic. The two best players from each group will continue to play in the knock-out stage.