Liam Pitchford won his first-round match at the WTT Champions Macao as he defeated Simon Gauzy of France in four games.
Pitchford edged the first 12-10 and moved two clear with an 11-7 margin in the second. Gauzy (WR 35) hit back in the third, but Pitchford was well on top in the fourth and clinched his victory.
Pitchford will next play the great Ma Long of China in the last 16. The match is at 1.45pm UK time on Wednesday – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
Pitchford said: “It was a pretty good match, I think. The last few tournaments haven’t been as good as I’d have liked. It was another tough draw and first match at an event, best of five, is never easy especially if you start bad.
“I was a little bit nervous in that first set, 10-8 up I gave away a few points. But once I took that first set, I relaxed a little bit and started to play some good stuff and I think I was on top for most of the game.
“I lost a bit of concentration in the third and he started to play as well but it was nice to come out in the fourth and start off dominating.
“It was nice to have Matej (Mamut) in the corner. Since Xinxiang (the previous WTT event), I’ve been training quite well, putting the work in. I think we had good tactics together today and I executed them for the most part well, which gives me a bit of confidence.
“I went out thinking I’d done what I can, win or lose I was happy with how I’d prepared and nice to have someone in the corner – in China on my own it was quite tough.
“Now I’ve probably got a day or a day and a half off, so I’ll get back in the training hall and just keep working and hop I can get on a run. Likely I’ll play Ma Long next – another tough match but it’s nice to have a shot at one of those guys again.”
Round of 32
Liam Pitchford bt Simon Gauzy (FRA) 3-1 (12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5)