There is a busy month ahead for England’s top players as they take on strong fields at four ITTF World Tour events.
Belgium, Sweden, Austria and Belarus are the stopping points and there will be strong English representation at all four.
Sam Walker leads the contingent in De Haan, Belgium, and is seeded 16th for the event, which is part of the second-tier ITTF Challenge Series and begins next Tuesday, October 23.
Also present in the men’s draw will be David McBeath, Tom Jarvis and Andrew Baggaley, while Tin-Tin Ho, Maria Tsaptsinos and Emily Bolton are in the women’s draw, with Ho seeded 26th.
From there, the circuit moves on to back-to-back ITTF World Tour events in Sweden and then Austria – the latter a Platinum event – which both have stellar entry lists.
Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Walker, Jarvis and Baggaley are in Stockholm, where the strength of the event is illustrated by the fact that the top 16 seeds are all ranked in the world’s top 25.
Pitchford just misses out on a seeding as Kristian Karlsson of the host nation fills the final position. But Pitchford will be eyeing the latter stages of the draw, having reached the semi-finals of the Czech Open on his last World Tour outing and beaten top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov on the way.
Sweden runs from October 29 to November 4 and Austria starts just two days later, with the qualifying groups in action in Linz from November 6.
Pitchford, Drinkhall, Baggaley, Ho and Tsaptsinos will all be in action in an event that is a strong as strong can be, with the world’s top 14 male players all present – the top 16 seeds are completed by two high-ranked Austrian players (Daniel Habesohn and Robert Gardos) in their home country. On the women’s side, the seeds comprise the world’s top 15 and the 33rd-ranked Austrian Liu Jia.
The final event in the run sees a return to the Challenge Series and is in Minsk, Belarus from November 13, two days after the finals in Austria. Jarvis, Tsaptsinos and Bolton will all be in action for England.
With several younger players in action at the Slovak and Hungarian youth opens in early November, it is a busy few weeks – keep up to date on the Table Tennis England website.