Liam Pitchford won a tight three-game match against Ovidiu Ionescu of Romania to move into the last 16 of the WTT Contender Lima last night.

The lead changed hands a couple of times in the first game but Pitchford took charge from 7-7 with a run of four successive points.

The second went to deuce and both players had chances to win it – Pitchford saved game points at 9-10 and 11-12 and saw one saved at 11-10, before three points in a row saw the Englishman win it 14-12.

There was never more than two points in it in the third, though Pitchford was behind for much of it before levelling at 9-9. That was in the middle of a run of four points which got him over the line.

He next faces sixth seed and world No 18 Lim Jonghoon of South Korea. They last met at the 2022 Qatar Open, then Lim came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in the round of 16.

The match is at 5.45pm UK time on Friday and is on Table 1 – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.

Pitchford has already faced Jonghoon at this event – he featured alongside Anna Hursey of Wales in an all-British Mixed Doubles pair who took on Jonghoon & Shin Yubin of South Korea in the last 16.

Their opponents are the top seeds and duly won 3-1, though it was a spirited effort by Pitchford & Hursey, who were always behind – but in contention – in the first two games before pulling away from 7-7 to take the third.

The fourth was also close but, from 8-8, the top seeds won the next two points – and although the Brits saved the first match point, they could not stop the second.

Pitchford & Tom Jarvis took on Sweden’s Mattias Falck & Kristian Karlsson, the third seeds, in the last 16 of the Men’s Doubles in the early hours of Friday morning, but were beaten in three.

Earlier in the competition, Jarvis was defeated in a deciding game by Jinbao Ma of the USA in the qualifying stage.

Ma, ranked at No 604 in the world took a 2-0 lead against England’s men’s singles national champion. Jarvis fought back to level, but went down 11-5 in the final game.

Hursey (WR 167) went out in the second qualifying round of the Women’s Singles to Sarah De Nutte (WR 118) of Luxembourg. Alongside Tatiana Kukulkova of Slovakia in the Women’s Doubles, they went out in the round of 16 to top seeds Shin Yubin & Jeon Jihee of South Korea in four games.


Men’s Singles
Qualifying round 1

Jinbao Ma (USA) bt Tom Jarvis 3-2 (11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5)

Round of 32
Liam Pitchford bt Ovidiu Ionescu (ROU) 3-0 (11-7, 14-12, 11-9)

Men’s Doubles
Round of 16

Mattias Falck & Kristian Karlsson (SWE) bt Liam Pitchford & Tom Jarvis 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-9)

Mixed Doubles
Round of 16

Lim Jonghoon & Shin Yubin (KOR) bt Liam Pitchford & Anna Hursey (WAL) 3-1 (11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9)