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Three through for England in Houston— Table tennis England




Liam Pitchford, Sam Walker and Tin-Tin Ho all made it through their first singles safely at the World Championships in Houston today, but Paul Drinkhall is out.

Walker was first on the field against World Champion 147 Daniel Gonzalez of Puerto Rico and won with relative ease.

After averting a comeback from 3-8 to 8-8 in the first game by making it 11-8, then regaining a 0-4 deficit in game 2 with an 11-straight run points, it was a matter of when rather than if for England’s No. 3.

Showing more consistency than his opponent, Walker jumped on every single serve, taking 25 of the 41 points Gonzalez started.

The Puerto Rican did take fourth, but it only delayed the inevitable as Walker won the next 11-4 to take a 4-1 win that puts him in a draw against France’s 2016 European Champion Emmanuel Lebesson , who defeated Zokhid Kenyaev from Uzbekistan. on five.

Drinkhalls match against world No. 24 Marcos Freitas, a pretty rotten draw for the round of 128 saw him take first blood by a 12-10 margin in game 1.

The Portuguese southpaw fought back to level and the game probably revolved around third, Drinkhall saved three game points with some characteristically powerful shots, but when Freitas saw it steal 12-10 using a power cord, Paul’s face showed exactly what he was aiming for. thought of that windfall that was against him.

Freitas turned up the heat to take a 3-1 lead and crossed the line in the fifth, despite Drinkhall fighting back from 4-9 and 7-10 behind, closing to a point before Freitas took his third match point.

Ho recovered from a call for several service fouls against France’s Marie Migot, her ramrod straight toss deemed a fraction short of the required height on one occasion, in addition to being called for crawling over the edge of the table. Still, her opponent sometimes allowed her to send the throw back practically over her own shoulder.

But Ho put that behind her with a performance of focus, got through some rough times and tried to keep Migot under pressure.

She could have faltered when Migot (WR 176) tied at 2-2 after the longest game of the match, but she held it together to win the next two and book a clash with fifth seed Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei in the last 64 .

And on to Pitchford, against a tough opponent in Ukraine’s Kou Lei, ranked 59. Pitchford, ranked 11th, avoided the banana peel, as he didn’t quite like it, but always had enough of his own.

He produced his most emphatic spell after Kou Lei equalized 1-1, took a 3-1 lead, and though he lost the next and then saw Kou save three match points in the sixth, Pitchford eventually broke through to the last 64 , where he takes on the world number 66, Alvaro Robles of Spain, who was hugely relieved to come through 4-3 against Mihai Bobocica of Italy.


Men’s singles
Round of 128
Sam Walker bt Daniel Gonzalez (PUR) 4-1 (11-8, 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4)
Marcos Freitas (POR) bt Paul Drinkhall 4-1 (10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9)
Liam Pitchford bt Kou Lei (UKR) 4-2 (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11)

Women’s Singles
Round of 128
Tin-Tin Hobt Marie Migot (FRA) 4-2 (8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8)




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