There were two doubles victories for GB athletes at the WTT Star Contender Lanzhou in China, but Paul Drinkhall was knocked out of the singles in a deciding game.
Drinkhall was up against Indian Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who beat him 4-3 in the bronze medal match at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year.
This last-64 clash went to a decider as well, with Drinkhall taking the first and fourth games before going down 11-7 in the fifth.
Gnanasekaran, currently ranked at No 107, will face the great Ma Long in the second round – and the victor will face Liam Pitchford in the last 16, if Pitchford gets past South Korean’s Cho Seungmin (WR 42) in the round of 32 tomorrow.
Pitchford’s match is at 7am UK time on Thursday on Table 3 – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
Drinkhall & Pitchford are through to the quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles thanks to a relatively routine three-game win over USA pair Jishan Liang & Jinbao Ma.
It was close enough, but with the English pair were only rarely behind in a game, and never at the business end, as they took it 7, 9, 9.
Their quarter-final opponents are Xu Yingbin & Lin Shidong of China, the third seeds. The match is scheduled at 8.45am UK time on Thursday on Table 3 – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
Pitchford teamed up with Wales’ Anna Hursey in the Mixed Doubles and they saved two match points in pulling off a terrific 3-2 (11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11) victory over India’s Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra in the last 16.
The match points were at 10-9 and 11-10 in the fifth, with Pitchford & Hursey then taking their first opportunity at 12-11. They had earlier taken the first and third games against the eighth-ranked pair in the world.
They face fourth seeds and fourth-ranked pair in the world, Lin Shidong & Kuai Man of China, in the quarter-finals at 1.55pm on Thursday, on Table 1. Again, you can watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
In the Women’s Singles, Hursey was defeated 3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9) by Li Yu-Jhun (WR 57) of Chinese Taipei in the first round.
Round of 64
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (IND) bt Paul Drinkhall 3-2 (7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7)
Round of 16
Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall bt Jishan Liang & Jinbao Ma (USA) 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-9)
Round of 16
Liam Pitchford & Anna Hursey (WAL) bt Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra (IND) 3-2 (11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11)