Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall are into the Men’s Doubles final at the Qatar Open, where Chinese superstars Ma Long & Xu Xin await.

England’s premier pair kept their heads to stave off a fightback by second seeds Ho Kwan Kit & Wong Chun Ting in the semi-finals today, winning 3-2 having been 2-0 up.

Click here to watch Pitchford & Drinkhall v Ho & Wong (registration required).

It is the first time the pair have been in the final of a World Tour event and to do so at a Platinum level event which features 13 of the world’s top 20 players, makes the achievement all the more significant.

To underscore the level of player on display in Doha, the players on the opposite side of the table in the final need no introduction – Ma Long & Xu Xin, who beat compatriots Fan Zhendong & Wang Chuqin 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-9) in the other semi-final.

The final is at 1.40pm UK time on Saturday – click here to watch live (registration required).

Pitchford also made it into the quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles, beating Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus (WR 27) of Belarus in six games. Pitchford was 2-0 and 3-1 up but Samsonov, who beat world No 4 Lin Gaoyuan in seven games in the previous round, close the deficit to one game both times.

Both had chances to win the sixth, Pitchford missing a match point at 11-10 and then saving a series of game points before again having match point at 16-15. Samsonov saved that one but Pitchford, the 15th seed, took his third chance to close out the game 18-16 and with it the match.

Click here to watch Pitchford v Samsonov (registration required).

He will face Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei (WR 37) in the quarter-finals at 9.30am UK time on Saturday.


Men’s Doubles
Liam Pitchford & Paul Drinkhall bt Ho Kwan Kit & Wong Chun Ting (HKG) 3-2 (11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 9-11, 11-7)

Men’s Singles
Round of 16
Pitchford bt Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) 4-2 (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 18-16)