Liam Pitchford & Anna Hursey pushed the world’s No 4 Mixed Doubles pair all the way before exiting the WTT Star Contender Lanzhou at the quarter-final stage.
Fresh from defeating the world’s eighth-ranked pair, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra, in the first round, Pitchford & Hursey started well against their Chinese opponents Lin Shidong & Kuai Man.
They led most of the way in the third, taking it 11-9, but saw their opponents run through the second 11-3.
The British pair won three successive points from 8-7 to take the third, but again the Chinese made all the running in thee fourth.
The decider saw Pitchford & Hursey 7-5 up after a run of four points, and at 8-8 it was still either pair’s to win. As it was, three successive points put the Chinese into the semi-finals – but there is obviously much promise in the Pitchford-Hursey partnership.
In the Men’s Singles, Pitchford missed out on a last-16 clash against Ma Long as he was narrowly defeated by South Korea’s Cho Seungmin.
Cho, ranked 10 places below Pitchford at No 42, made a fast start and took the first 11-3, but Pitchford hit back in a closer second.
Pitchford led for much of the crucial third game, but found himself pegged back to 8-8 and then 10-8 down. He saved those two games points, but Cho edged it 12-10.
The fourth saw Pitchford always ahead as he took it 11-8, but Cho made the decisive move with five successive points from 4-4 in the decider. And although Pitchford subsequently saved two match points, he could not save the third.
Unfortunately, Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall had to withdraw from their Men’s Doubles quarter-final against China’s Xu Yingbin & Lin Shidong, the fourth seeds.
Round of 32
Cho Seungmin (KOR) bt Liam Pitchford 3-2 (11-3, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8)
Lin Shidong & Kuai Man (CHN) bt Liam Pitchford & Anna Hursey (WAL) 3-2 (9-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8)