Paul Drinkhall saved four match points as he edged to a seventh-game victory in his first match at the European Games in Krakow today.

Drinkhall was up against Yevhan Pryshchepa (WR 279) of Ukraine in the round of 64 and by his own admission struggled against his opponent’s awkward style.

He lost both of the first two games 11-9 but came back to win the next two, both by 11-7 margins.

Pryshchepa moved back in front, but Drinkhall quickly levelled again, turning a 10-3 lead into an 11-6 victory in the sixth.

The decider saw Drinkhall turn around at 5-2 down, taking his timeout at that point. He closed to 6-6 but saw his opponent take the next four points to put himself on the verge of the last 32.

But Drinkhall dug deep and won six points on the spin to claim what seemed moments before to be an unlikely victory.

His reward at the end of a tie lasting 66 minutes is a match against top seed and European champion Dang Qiu of Germany in the last 32. The match is on Table 2 at 5.50pm UK time on Saturday.

Liam Pitchford comes in at the same stage, against Daniel Habesohn (WR 98) of Austria. The match is at 10.20am UK time on Table 3.

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In the Women’s Singles, Tin-Tin Ho was beaten 4-0 by France’s Prithika Pavade (WR 66) in the last 64, but it obscures a largely close match in which Ho may feel frustrated not to have taken at least one game.

Her best chance was when she led the second 10-8, having lost the first 11-9, but was unable to convert as she saw left-hander Pavade take it 14-12.

The third was also 11-9 and it was only in the fourth that Pavade pulled away, winning seven points in a row from 4-4 to seal victory.

There was also defeat at the first hurdle for Charlotte Carey (WR 197), who was up against Solomiya Brateyko of Ukraine, ranked 42 places above her.

Carey was never able to get quite close enough to put her opponent under pressure and was defeated in four straight (8, 5, 7, 8).

Earlier, in the last 16 of the Mixed Doubles, Pitchford & Ho went out to third seeds Lubomir Pistej & Barbora Balazova of Slovakia.

It was done in four games – closer than the three straight by which they had lost to the same opponents at the World Championships last month.

Liam Pitchford & Tin-Tin Ho in action in Krakow. Photo by Team GB / Sam Mellish


Men’s Singles
Round of 64

Paul Drinkhall bt Ievgen Pryshchepa (UKR) 4-3 (9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10)

Women’s Singles
Round of 64

Prithika Pavade (FRA) bt Tin-Tin Ho 4-0 (11-9, 14-12, 11-9, 11-4)
Solomiya Brateyko (UKR) bt Charlotte Carey 4-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8)

Mixed Doubles
Round of 16

Lubomir Pistej & Barbora Balazova (SVK) bt Liam Pitchford & Tin-Tin Ho 3-1 (11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8)