Team GB stars light up 4 nations tournament in thrilling quarter-final

It was a Team GB clash in the men’s singles SH 6 as Krysten Coombs toppled Jack Shephard 21, 16, 22 to 18, 21, 20 in a marathon 53-minute match.


The Paris-bound para-athletes played with incredible intensity throughout, with Coombs eventually taking the deciding set in a match that could’ve gone either way.


On taking on his fellow teammate Shephard was incredibly positive “We always have a great battle against each other! I think we both put in a really solid performance and I wish Krystenall the best in the next round”


It was Shephard who started strongest with both players striking deep into the backcourt. After a backhand cross-court strike by Shephard, Coombs dived to return it but just missed out, foreshadowing the intense rallies we would see throughout.


Shephard continued to get the better of these rallies to lead 11 to 4 at the interval, but four straight points from Coombs kept his Paralympic teammate within range.


Fine margins would cost Shephard the first set as just a couple of mistakes were crucial. It was clear though that with nothing to split the two players, a third set was likely.


The second set started in identical fashion to the first, with Shephard bouncing back to take a 6-1 lead early on. Again, however, neither player was in control and most points were being lost through errors rather than won in rallies.


This theme would continue until Shephard minimised these errors and turned the rallies into points gained for him. A post-interval surge was enough to secure the second set 21 to 16 for Shephard, forcing a mouthwatering deciding set.


If the opening two sets were anything to go off, the Glasgow crowd were in for a treat in the final set and that’s just what the two stars served up. Exchanging points in a nail-biting back-and-forth with neither player showing any signs of fatigue.


Level at 20 to 20, it was Coombs who was able to find the extra gear to advance into the semi-final, winning 22 to 20. Speaking on the win Coombs was incredibly complimentary of his competitor and friend


“We’re best mates off the court and we know even when we’re on the court against each other it’s the same. Obviously one of us has to win in the end but that’s where we show that sportsmanship between each other.

“It’s just such a joy to get to play against one of your best mates”


If the pace and quality in this game was anything to go by though, both Coombs and Shephard look set to impress in Paris this summer.

By Nathan Hassett

(3) Nathan Hassett (@nathanhassett__) / X