Paul Drinkhall in action in Baku, as Alan Cooke watches on (Photo courtesy of ITTF))

Paul Drinkhall has been knocked out of the Europe Top 16, having lost this morning to Robert Gardos of Austria.

Drinkhall needed to win to qualify from Group D, but was beaten 3-1 (10-12, 5-11, 11-7, 8-11).

Today’s match was pivotal after Paul won one and lost one of his opening two matches in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Paul was drawn in Group D with Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, Gardos and local player Farhad Ismayilov.

He opened against world No 18 Apolonia and went down 3-0 (6-11, 8-11, 9-11), but bounced back to comfortably beat Ismayilov, who is ranked at a lowly No 544, 3-0 (11-3, 11-5, 11-6).

But he was unable to get the better of Gardos, who is ranked No 27 to Paul’s No 33, and was eliminated. Apolonia, who also lost to Gardos, went through by virtue of having won his other two matches.


Click here to see Paul’s match against Tiago Apolonia

Click here to see his match against Farhad Ismayilova

Click here to see his match against Robert Gardos