Liam Pitchford’s dreams of reaching his first-ever ITTF World Tour quarter-final were quashed when home hope Pavel Sirucek (wr 112) defeated the 20-year-old in the Czech Open, Olomouc.

Although he managed to equal his best performance with a victory over Stefan Fegerl (AUT, 82) on Friday, he was disappointed to not capitalize on a relatively easy draw for the last 16.

Sirucek, boosted by the partisan home crowd, was able to reply to Pitchford’s opening game by opening up a 2-1 lead after a tight 14-12 game and then a confident 11-6 third game.

However, the current English National Champion raised his performance in the fourth game to race to a 7-3 lead en route to an 11-8 game – met with total silence from the Czech supporters.

They were much more vocal in the fifth end as Sirucek opened up a 6-1 lead but when Pitchford saved three game points at 10-7 down, the crucial moment in the encounter arrived.

Sirucek won a cheap point for 11-10 but then pulled out all the stops in the game decider as he forced the issue on both the forehand and backhand sides to deny Pitchford the lead.

The point also seemed to break the Englishman’s resistance as a 4-0 lead opened up in the sixth game for the Czech player, which he eventually converted into a comfortable 11-4 game and a 4-2 victory.

You will be able to watch the match back on the itTV archive when it becomes available over the weekend.

Earlier on in the day he faced the same Czech opponent in the Men’s Under-21s quarter-final where he suffered a six-game defeat.

The pattern of the match was consistent with Sirucek leading before Pitchford replying in kind. However, with the match at 3-2 to the ‘home’ player, the English no. 1 couldn’t force the door open once more into a deciding game as he narrowly fell 14-12 to complete the defeat.

ITTF World Tour Czech Open (Olomouc, August 21-25th)
Men’s Singles:
Last 16:

Pavel Sirucek (CZE, 112) bt Liam Pitchford 4-2 (8-11, 14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-4)

Men’s Under-21s:

Pavel Sirucek (CZE, 112) bt Liam Pitchford 4-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 14-12)

Written by Russell Moore (August 24, 2013)