Rebecca Savage, Joseph Hunter and Paralympian Ashley Facey all upset higher-ranked players to book a place in the last 16 at the Mark Bates Ltd National Championships.

Two ‘lucky losers’ in the Men’s Singles were also given a place in the knockout stage, being picked at random from among the eight group runners-up.

Photos by Alan Man

Men’s Singles

The knockout rounds for the men’s singles were decided with some fiercely contested group games. 

The withdrawals of David McBeath and Darius Knight opened the door for two second-place finishers to make it through in a ‘lucky loser’ draw held after all the matches had finished. 

Toby Ellis topped Group 1 after he beat Bryan Kwan in four sets and Jakub Piwowar in three. 

Paralympian Ashley Facey produced two excellent performances to make it through Group 6. After beating Louis Price in five sets (12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8), he then overcame Shaquille Webb-Dixon in three close games. Price withdrew from the last match due to illness, meaning Webb-Dixon got a walkover. Facey’s reward is to face Ellis in the last 16 tomorrow.

Ashley Facey

Group two saw Sam Mabey come out on top. However, newcomer Joe Sawyer caused some problems with his awkward defensive style, as he did in the U21s earlier. Sawyer was able to beat Joseph Langham-Ferreira from two sets down, saving a match point in the fifth to win it 14-12. Although Mabey’s power was too much for him, Sawyer was one of the two to make it through as a lucky loser – he will face Joseph Hunter. Mabey, meanwhile, will take on Chris Doran.

Every match in Group 3 went to five sets, with Larry Trumpauskas winning it to set up a tie against defending champion and second seed Tom Jarvis.

The 16-year-old was two sets down to Rohan Dani, 15, but was able to claw himself back and win the decider. Ben Piggott lost to Trumpsauskas and beat Dani. 

Ralph Pattison took the hard route to winning Group 4, with five-set wins over Maxim Stevens and Graeme Barella – perhaps not surprising with a tie against top seed and six-time champion Paul Drinkhall at stake.

The scorelines in Pattison’s favour were 11-8, 4-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-5 over Barella and 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8) against Stevens. 

Joseph Hunter

Joseph Hunter topped Group 5 after an impressive win over Josh Bennett. Hunter won in four sets after a repeat of a match in the U21s against Isaac Kingham. Again, Kingham caused him problems and went 7-3 up in the fourth set when leading 2-1. However, Hunter fought back once more and won the fifth set 11-4. Kingham also gave Bennett a tough time, losing in five. 

Ismaila Akindiya, who won the mixed doubles last year alongside Mollie Patterson, comfortably won Group 7. After beating Aaron McKibbin in straight sets, he then got a walkover when Lorestas Trumpauskas withdrew because of an injury. Akinidiya will play Under-21 champion Connor Green.

U21 finalist Felix Thomis continued his good form to top Group 8. The left-hander eased to victory against Artur Veeck Caltabiano, before a winner takes all match with Nahom Asgedom. After going 2-0 up, Asgedom fought back, forcing a decider. Thomis was able to clinch it 11-9 and faces Shayan Siraj in the last 16. However, Asgedom still made it through as a lucky loser – and was delighted to learn he would face third seed Sam Walker. 

Women’s Singles

Rebecca Savage defeated the higher-ranked Anna Green to take her place in the knockout rounds with a see-saw 3-2 (6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-3) victory to top Group 4 and set up a tie against fourth seed Mari Baldwin in tomorrow’s round of 16.

Rebecca Savage

Every match in Group 8 went to a decider and, as expected on ranking, Mabel Shute topped the group. Brooke Morris had defeated Amy Marriott 3-2 (11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-9) in the first match, and Shute then defeated Morris 3-2 (11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10).

Shute then completed the pattern of every match being won from 2-1 down as she triumphed 3-2 (11-3, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3) over Marriott. Shute will face Sienna Jetha in the last 16.

In Group 7, Anaya Patel’s 3-1 (11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10) win over Xiaoman Ji decided the group in the higher-ranked player’s favour, both having seen off Luna Archard in three. Patel’s reward is to face top seed and five-time champion Tin-Tin Ho in the last 16.

Table Tennis England Director Sally Hughes, who earlier presented the Under-21 Women’s Singles medals, won Group 1 with two victories in three straight, first against Mya Sultan and then against Kate Watkinson, never conceding more than seven points in a game. Hughes will face Emily Bolton, the second seed.

That group had been opened up by the elevation of Ella Pashley into the top eight seeds, with Watkinson a late replacement, called up as next on the list of finishers in the Qualifying Tournament.

The same applied in Group 2, where Jetha was elevated into the main draw and Lisa Rinnhofer came in. Rinnhofer she came very close to defeating Ella Barnard before Barnard edged to a 3-2 (11-5, 13-15, 11-6, 8-11, 13-11) victory.

Added to her 3-1 win over Rachael Iles, that was enough to take Barnard through to a last-16 meeting with Jasmin Wong.

Ella Barnard

Erin Green took Group 3, beating Eva Eccles in four and Mia Lakhani in three to advance to a tie against under-21 champion Tianer Yu. Lakhani deserves an honourable mention for defeating Eccles from 2-0 down – the final score was 3-2 (6-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9) to the ‘winner from Pinner’.

Group 5 went with seeding as Letitia McMullan overcame Saskia Key 3-2 (12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8), both players having earlier defeated Sophie Ackred. McMullan will play Pashley.

Millie Rogove topped Group 6, as expected, and that was another which saw a deciding game decide the group winner, Rogove edging to a 3-2 (10-12, 14-12, 13-11, 7-11, 11-7) win over Bethany Ellis, both having earlier defeated Anna Piercey. Rogove will face Scarlett Anders in the last 16.