Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall, and Tin-Tin Ho, all won their first-round doubles matches at the World Championships in Durban today, but Sam Walker went out of the singles to the 26th seed.
Ho was due on court first, but a marathon match between Omar Assar and Alberto Mino delayed things on her table, so it was Pitchford & Drinkhall who actually hit the first balls for England.
They made a slow start against Austrian opponents David Serdaroglu & Alexander Chen, finding themselves 9-3 down in the first, but they found their range and worked it back to 10-8. They saved those game points and went on to take their own third game point at 14-12.
A 6-1 lead in the second was converted into an 11-8 victory and, while the third was tight up to 8-8, the English pair then took the next three points to go through to the last 32, where they will face Chilean pair Nicolas Burgos & Gustavo Gomez.
Ho and her Austrian partner Karoline Mischek were up against Janet Mwelwa & Latifa Nalavwe of Zambia and it was a one-sided affair, especially in the first which they took 11-1 having opened a 9-0 lead.
They must wait to discover their next opponents, but it is likely to be Swedish pair Christina Kallberg & Linda Bergstrom, the 12th seeds.
Walker had a tough task against 26th seed Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong and so it proved as he was not able to lay a glove on his opponent, losing in four straight. He did save five game points across the course of the match but was never close enough for that to swing the balance.
Who’s next in action for England?
Sunday will see Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles action for England, with Tin-Tin Ho first on at 9.40am UK time against eighth seed Ying Han of Germany on Table 5.
Tom Jarvis is due on Table 1 at 10.20am UK time to face Sathiyan Gnanasekaran of India.
Pitchford is due on Table 4 at 12.20pm against Joao Geraldo of Portugal, while Drinkhall is on Table 3 against Olajide Omotayo – that match scheduled for 6.50pm.
In between, Jarvis & Walker will play their first-round doubles match against Ho Kwan Kit & Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong on Table 8 at 1pm.
Pitchford & Ho start their Mixed Doubles campaign against Lubomir Pistej & Barbora Balazova of Slovakia at 7.30pm on Table 6.
Tables 1-8 are all being live-streamed on the WTT YouTube channel – click here to choose which table you want to watch.
Round of 128
Wong Chun Ting (HKG) bt Sam Walker 4-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7)
Round of 64
Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall bt David Serdaroglu & Alexander Chen (AUT) 3-0 (14-12, 11-6, 11-8)
Round of 64
Tin-Tin Ho & Karoline Mischek (AUT) bt Janet Mwelwa & Latifa Nalavwe (ZAM) 3-0 (11-1, 11-4, 11-7)