Liam Pitchford was boosted by two big victories in the French league as he prepares for the high-class Singapore Smash, which starts tomorrow.

Pitchford, who is joined in Singapore by Paul Drinkhall and Tin-Tin Ho, is also recovering from an ankle injury sustained at the WTT Feeder Manchester, which hampered him at the World Team Championships last month, where he could play only two of England’s five matches.

But despite not having been able to play or train for several days after that, he still beat top-30 players Anders Lind and Marcos Freitas in France.

The victory over Denmark’s Lind (WR 30) was 3-2 (11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8) and clinched a 3-2 win for his team Hennebont against Caen.

That followed a 3-1 (4-11, 11-3, 17-15, 11-9) victory over Portugal’s Freitas (WR 19) as Hennebont were defeated 3-2 overall by Pontoise-Cergy in their previous match.

Pitchford said: “I had 10 days off after the last match I played at the Worlds and stayed there to work with Justin (physio) on the ankle.

“It’s been better recently. It’s still a bit stiff, not much movement in it, but I played in France for Hennebont because they needed me and beating Freitas and Lind, is not a bad couple of wins after not picking up a bat for 10 days.

“My game’s still there, it’s about getting into the best physical shape I can be and going out there and giving it my all.”

Pitchford was drawn against European champion Qiu Dang of Germany in the first round of this event last year, and said: “The seeding system they’ve got, I could play (world No 1) Fan Zhendong or anyone in the first round, so it’s a tough tournament.

“Hopefully this year I can get a slightly more favourable draw in the first round, and we’ll see what happens.

“Even if I get a tough draw, winning those two matches last week against top-30 opponents gives me a bit of confidence that I can put up a good fight whoever I play.”

Pitchford is seeded into the main draw on Sunday, but Drinkhall (WR 114) starts in the first qualifying round against Finland’s Benedek Olah (WR 122). The match is at 5am UK time on Friday.

Ho (WR 165) will be in action in the Women’s Singles against Lee Ho Ching (WR 96) of Hong Kong at 4.30am UK time on Thursday.

Pitchford & Drinkhall will feature in the Men’s Doubles, while Ho & Wales’ Anna Hursey are in the field for the Women’s Doubles – the draws have not yet been made for those events, which begin on Monday.

Follow the event on the WTT YouTube channel.