Liam Pitchford

The crowd surrounding the show-court on table one erupted at 11.38 hours, producing the loudest cheer of the tournament so far. England’s no. two Liam Pitchford (World ranked no. 269) was simply sensational, winning a tense seven setter against World ranked no. 148 Stefan Fegerl (Austria)  by converting  his fifth match-point of an all-action loop-to-loop Qualifying match in the Men’s Singles. Neither player deserved  to lose and at times it seemed that neither player would miss out. Liam finally clinched it 11-9 in the seventh game after trailing 2-0, but, fighting back to lead 3-2. Liam had two match points at 10-8 in the sixth game which he could not capitalise on with the Austrian player battling back to level the match at 3-3. Liam wasn’t to be denied and displaying real Bull-dog spirit he raced into a 5-1 lead in the decider. Liam led 10-7 and finally clinched victory on his third match point . A famous victory and well received by the  very enthusiastic home support.

England no. four Darius Knight (world ranked no. 271), produced an equally outstanding performance beating World no. 135 Abdel-Kader Salifou (France) an old rival from their Junior days  4-1 (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7). Darius looked in control throughout and gave the English crowd  a fantastic excuse for  a double celebration.

England no. three Danny Reed failed to join his team-mates in the first round proper. He missed out 4-1 (4-11, 13-11, 2-11, 4-11, 3-11) against World no. 173 Ma Liang (Singapore).

Darius Knight

Geoff Ware/  Steve Kerns