Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall both exited the European Games Men’s Singles at the last 32 stage in Krakow today.
Pitchford will reflect on one which got away as he saw opponent Daniel Habesohn of Austria come from 3-1 down to win 4-3.
After the first two games were shared, Pitchford pulled ahead by rattling through the third – he was 6-1 and 10-4 up – and then came from 9-8 down to win the fourth 12-10.
The pattern for the rest of the match was of Pitchford being very much in every game at the midway point, only to see world No 98 Habesohn string together runs of points.
In the fifth, 5-5 became 5-9 and eventually 8-11, and in the next Habesohn won five in a row from 4-4, on his way to taking it 11-5.
Pitchford changed ends at 2-5 in the decider but, after taking his timeout, quickly made it 5-5. But again it was Habesohn who put the points together as he won the next six on the spin to set up a last-16 tie against second weed Truls Moregard of Sweden.
Drinkhall’s task on paper was as tough as they come – the top seed and European champion Dang Qiu of Germany.
And although Drinkhall was always in every game, Qiu had the edge as he won in four close sets to get through to the last 16, where he faces Niagol Stoyanov of Italy.
Round of 32
Daniel Habesohn (AUT) bt Liam Pitchford 4-3 (6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5)
Dang Qui (GER) bt Paul Drinkhall 4-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9)