England’s quartet of surviving singles entrants in Schwechat were unable to pick up any big shocks as the European elite showed their power at the 2013 Liebherr European Championships in Schwechat, Austria.
Hopes were high as four of the eight-strong England squad that travelled to Austria made it to the main draw in the singles, however, despite their best efforts they were ultimately no match for the top seeds in the last 64.
England’s no.1, Liam Pitchford, was once again the closest to providing a shock result as he pushed Russian Alexander Shibaev (58) the full distance in their pulsating encounter. The 20-year-old started brilliantly with a 2-0 lead giving his opponent all kinds of trouble in Austria. However, Shibaev replied in dominant fashion with three quick games to put himself on the verge of victory.
The plucky Pitchford did manage to stem the tide with a 12-10 sixth game, but Shibaev was not to be denied as he established a 5-1 lead in the decider to stave off Pitchford’s comeback and scrape through their last 64 meeting.
Sam Walker and Andrew Baggaley also both lost at the same stage as neither could get past their top-class opponents in the shapes of Tiago Apolonia (POR, 36) and Patrick Franziska (GER, 45) respectively.
Walker, who showed great potential to make the last 64 in his debut European Championships, was ultimately no match for one of the top seeds, Apolonia, while the experienced Baggaley pushed Franziska across their five-match encounter before also falling to defeat.
Joanna Drinkhall, the only surviving women’s singles entrant, equally fell to a five-game defeat against Sweden’s Li Fen. Earlier in the day she had partnered Kelly Sibley against Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter, two of the gold medal-winning German Women’s team, with the German pair coming out on top after four ends.
2013 Liebherr European Championships (Schwechat, AUT) Results
Alexander Shibaev (RUS, 58) bt Liam Pitchford (126) 4-3 (8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8)
Tiago Apolonia (POR, 36) bt Sam Walker (430) 4-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3)
Patrick Franziska (GER, 45) bt Andrew Baggaley (153) 4-1 (11-9, 12-14, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7)
Li Fen (SWE, 88) bt Joanna Drinkhall (159) 4-1 (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4)
Petrissa Solja/Sabine Winter (GER) bt Joanna Drinkhall/Kelly Sibley 3-1 (11-3, 11-5, 11-13, 11-5)
Written by Russell Moore (October 11, 2013)