There are some intriguing ties for England’s top two players at the WTT Star Contender Lanzhou in China, including potential repeats of both of last year’s Commonwealth Games Men’s Singles medal matches.
Paul Drinkhall will definitely face Sathiyan Gnanasekaran of India in the last 64 – he lost 4-3 to his opponent in the bronze medal match at Birmingham 2022, having come from 3-0 down to level.
The match is at 6.35am UK time on Wednesday on Table 2 – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
Liam Pitchford has a bye into the last 32, where he will face either Sharath Kamal Achanta of India or South Korea’s Cho Seungmin – if it’s Achanta, then that would be a repeat of the Commonwealth gold medal match which the Indian won.
Those medal matches came after the Men’s Doubles in Birmingham, where Pitchford & Drinkhall beat Achanta & Gnanasekaran to win gold.
Pitchford and Drinkhall could meet each other in the last 16 in Lanzhou – though plenty needs to happen before then, not least Drinkhall overcoming a certain Ma Long in the round of 32, if he first gets past Gnanasekaran.
Wales’ Anna Hursey is also competing and takes on Li Yu-Jhun of Chinese Taipei in the last 64 at 6.35am UK time on Wednesday (Table 3).
Pitchford & Drinkhall face USA’s Jishan Liang & Jinbao Ma in the last 16 of the Men’s Doubles at 8.20am on Wednesday on Table 2.
Pitchford & Hursey will meet Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra of India in the last 16 of the Mixed Doubles at 12.45pm on Table 4.