Paul Drinkhall

Paul Drinkhall and Andrew Baggaley both made it into the second round of the English Open. And how well they played.

Drinkhall, ranked no. 88 in the World hit top form to get the better of World no. 83 Seo Hyun Deok  (Korea) the winner of the Under 21 Singles in the 2009 English Open and the victor over Paul that year. Paul raced into a 3-0 lead with some breath-taking play and he withstood some strong resistance from his all-action opponent. Paul won 11-4, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9 and will face the mighty Xu Xin (China / World no. nine) in the next round.

Seo Hyun Deok

Current National Champion Andrew Baggaley (World no. 151) also excelled despite missing out in two very close opening games. With the crowd getting behind him Andrew raised his game to take a 3-2 lead against World no. 120 Lui Zhongze (Singapore). The game could hardly have been more evenly matched and it was Andrew who eventually edged home 13-15, 10-12, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10. Andrew’s reward – a crack at one of the most respected players in World Table Tennis – 2004 Olympic Champion and the current World no. 16 – Ryu Seung Min (Korea).

English players aside, shock results were few and far between in the Mens Singles. By far the biggest shock was the hard-fought win for Emmanuel Lebesshon (France / World no. 112) against World no. 36 Cheung Yik (Hong Kong)which went all the way to the seventh end. Lebesshon won a widely fluctuating encounter 2-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 3-11, 2-11, 11-7.

Steve Kerns