Brave performances but high-quality opponents end Australian dreams in Lasko

Facing opponents who reached the finals at the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships last November proved the nemesis for the Australian trio comprising Trevor Hirth, Nathan Pellissier and Leonard Poperjohn at ITTF Slovenia Para Open 2023.

Staged in Lasko, the five-day tournament concluded on Saturday 13 May.

Competing in men’s singles class 6, it was third place in the first stage group for Trevor Hirth, one spot lower for Leonard Poperjohn.

Trevor Hirth accounted for Korea Republic’s Lee Seho (11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5) but experienced defeats when opposing Great Britain’s Martin Perry (6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4) and Italy’s Matteo Parenzan (11-4, 11-1, 11-3); the reigning World Champion.

Alas for Leonard Poperjohn, it was a sequence of defeats. He was beaten by Haris Eminovic from Bosnia-Herzegovina (11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3) and Spain’s Alberto Seoane (11-9, 11-6, 11-7), after in his opening contest, experiencing defeat when facing Great Britain’s Paul Karabardak (11-1, 11-6, 11-7).

At the Andalucia 2022 World Para Championships, partnering colleague Billy Shilton, Paul Karabardak had secured the men’s doubles class 14 title.

Defeats at the hands of most reputable players; it was the same in men’s singles class 8 for Nathan Pellissier.

In his opening match he experienced defeat at the hands of Frenchman, Thomas Bouvais (11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7); silver medallist in Andalucia.

Third place in the group was the lot for Nathan Pellissier – he beat Slovenia’s Alem Becirevic (11-4, 11-3, 11-6), prior to losing to Hungary’s Andras Csonka; silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

After tough draws in the men’s singles events, it was no different in the men’s doubles. Competing in class 14, it was third place in the initial stage group for Trevor Hirth and Nathian Pellissier, thus, no progress to the main.

A narrow defeat was the result against Chile’s Ignacio Torres and Mattias Pino (11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4), after, in their opening contest could hardly have faced more testing opponents.

They were beaten by the French pairing comprising Clément Berthier and Esteban Herrault (11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7), the champions elect and this year’s most successful partnership in any category.

In February they won in Egypt, in March in Spain, Italy and Brazil, and now in May in Slovenia.

Tough times, but they all contribute to the bank of experience.


Article adapted from ITTF-Oceania website.