Paul Drinkhall gave everything, but it wasn’t enough to overcome China’s Liang Jingkun in the 2023 World Championships in Durban.
Fifth seed Liang, a two-time world singles bronze medallist, dominated the opening two games, taking them 11-4, 11-5.
The third saw Drinkhall build a lead and, despite his opponent closing from 9-7 down to 9-9, the Englishman took the next two points to get on the board.
The fourth game was a hard-fought battle with Drinkhall reaching a game point at 10-9, but the Chinese showed his prowess to end up taking the fourth, 12-10.
The fifth also provided thrilling entertainment. Drinkhall saved three match points from 10-7, and fought to reach a game point of his own at 11-10, but ultimately, it was the man from China who progressed through into the last 16 by taking the next three points.
Drinkhall still has the doubles to focus on, of course, as he and Liam Pitchford are into the quarter-finals, where they will face Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Patrick Franziska at 2.40pm UK time on Thursday, on Table 2.
Round of 32
Liang Jingkun (CHN) bt Paul Drinkhall 4-1 (11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11)