October 3 - After going down to surprise defeats yesterday, both France and Serbia resumed normal service in Lignano today by overcoming their semi-final opponents to set-up a final showdown in the men's class five category at the European Para Table Tennis Championships.
The top two seeds finished second in their respective groups during the round-robin stage setting up semi-final ties which saw France take on Germany and Serbia face Turkey.
The Germans would have been in confident mood going into the match following their impressive performances the day before, but the French duo of Florian Merrien and Nicolas Savant-Aira showed why they are the favourites for the title by digging deep and eventually overcoming Selcuk Cetin and Valentin Baus by three sets to two.
Merrien was the main man for the French winning both his singles matches while Savant-Aira chipped in with a crucial win against Cetin.
It was a similar story for Serbian duo Mitar Palikucav and Miroslav Homa as they regained their form to despatch Turkey's Suleyman Vural and Ali Ozturk 3-2 also.
Similar to Germany, it was the singles matches that provided the basis for Serbia's victory as Pailkucav won his two contests with Homa also securing a win over Vural.
There was better news for Turkey in the class four competition as Neslim Turan and Abdullah Ozturk powered passed Slovakian pair Peter Mihalik and Andrej Meszaros 3-0 to set up a final clash with top seeds Maxime Thomas and Emeric Martin of France who overcame Poland's Maciej Nalepka and Krysztof Zylka by the same scoreline.
In the class 11 category, despite a surprise defeat to Poland, France made it through to the semi-finals along with the Poles after both recording wins over Italy while Denmark are still expected to qualify for the semi-finals despite suffering an unexpected reverse against Russia.
It was a good day for Britain's men too, with Will Bayley and Paul Karabardak securing a vital final group game win over France in straight sets to set up a semi-final match with Spain in the class six-seven event.
"Spain tomorrow will be a massive match," said Paralympic silver medallist Bayley.
"They are a great team and we always have some epic battles.
"We've only beaten them once in about eight years and that was in the last European Championships but I know whenever we play them in the big majors we have a chance so it will be a great match."
In the class 10 competition, it was another Britain versus France group decider but this time it was the French who came out on top as Kim Daybell and Ashley Facey Thompson failed to make the semi-finals, going down 3-2
It was two from two for class one pair Rob Davies and Paul Davies as the duo, who faced each other in the singles final, proved much too strong for both Slovakia and Hungary, winning 3-0 in each match.
Speaking after the win over Hungary, Rob, who lost out to Paul in the singles final said: "It was a good match.
"And I'm glad we got it over with as quickly as we did as we've got to be up early in the morning for our next match.
"We just want to keep going, match by match and hopefully we'll keep playing the same and keep winning with any luck.
"It would be nice to have another gold medal - but we'll see how it goes."
In the women's class three category, Britons and reigning European champions Sara Head and Jane Campbell are still on course to defend their title despite getting off to the worst possible start in their first match, losing out 3-1 to Italians Clara Podda and Michela Brunelli, the team they beat to bronze at London 2012 last year.
Head and Campbell regrouped after that opening set-back and secured a crucial 3-1 win over French pair Fanny Bertrand and Isabelle Lafaye to remain in contention for the knockout phases, where they will likely be joined by Croatia's Helena Dretar Karic and Andela Muzinic who looked impressive in their wins over Italy and Turkey.
"It was disappointing to lose this morning," said Campbell afterwards.
"And I think this time we realised the doubles was crucial and we just went hell for leather until we did it.
"We've still got all to play for tomorrow - there is no way of working out who needs to do what at the moment so we've just got to try and win our final two matches against Turkey and Croatia."
In the women's class 10, Olga Gorshkaleva and Daria Saratova also ended the day with a 100 per cent record as they defeated Germany after first overcoming second seeds France in an impressive 3-1 victory.
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October 2013: Team events get underway in Lignano with France and Serbia suffering surprise defeats
September 2013: Davies and Davies make history at European Para Table Tennis Championships
September 2013: Upsets continue on day two of European Para Table Tennis Championships
September 2013: Paralympic and European table tennis champion Van Zon defeated in Lignano
September 2013: Europe's elite converging on Lignano for Para Table Tennis Championships