Pickard beaten in the quarter-finals in Slovenia

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At the PTT Slovenian Open, Burnley’s Fliss Pickard lost her women’s class 6 quarter-final 3-1 against Maliak Alieva from Russia, the 23-year-old former class 7 who has been reclassified as a 6.

Competing for the British Para Table Tennis Team, Pickard took some positives from her performance.

“I felt there were some good points and things to definitely work on,” said the 23 year old.

“She has come down a classification so I’ve not had much experience of playing her.

“But definitely with a few little tweaks I feel that there is not much in it.

“I’m looking forward to the team event now and getting more match experience.

“I’m making progress all the time and being based in Sheffield is definitely helping me.

“Training is going well and I can see it on the table.”

Only last week, Pickard was one of six British medalists in the team events on the final day of the PTT Slovakia Open in Bratislava.

Pickard won silver in the women’s class 6-7 with her partner Maryna Lytovchenko, the class 6 World number three from Ukraine.

The duo beat the Australian/Hungarian team of Rebecca Julian and Dora Molnar 2-0, and followed that with a 2-0 win against the German team of class 6 World number six Stephanie Grebe and class 7 Bente Harenberg.

They had to settle for silver after losing their final match in the round-robin competition against top seeds Seong Ok Kim and Kunwoo Lee from Korea 2-0.

Pickard went out of the women’s class 6 singles after 3-0 losses to Lytovchenko and Korean World number seven KunWoo Lee, who went on to take gold and silver.

The two tournaments have are part of an important period for the British Para Table Tennis Team, in their preparation for the World Championships later this year.

It has already been a busy 2018 for Pickard, who, in April, just missed out on a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.

She then successfully defended her National title one week later.

The British Para Table Tennis Team ended the PTT Slovenian Open with three medals in the team events – silver for Paul Karabardak, Martin Perry, David Wetherill (men’s class 6) and Tom Matthews with his Argentinian partner Guillermo Bastamante Sierra (men’s class 1) and bronze for Commonwealth champion Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin (men’s class 8).

And there were five singles medals for World silver medallist Sue Gilroy (women’s class 4-5) and the improving Ashley Facey Thompson (men’s class 9), taking silver. Paralympic champion Will Bayley (men’s class 7) and Commonwealth champion Ross Wilson (men’s class 8) had to be content with bronze, as did Jack Hunter-Spivey in men’s class 5.