Sam Walker launched a superb comeback to dump the world No 29 out of the Qatar Open and join Liam Pitchford in the third preliminary round, but Paul Drinkhall is out.
Walker trailed Japan’s Jin Ueda 3-1 in Doha but won the next three to notch his best result in several months, since beating Ueda’s compatriot Koki Niwa, then ranked at No 9, at the World Team Championships last April.
Walker has made a habit of beating high-ranked Japanese opponents – he also defeated world No 20 Yuya Oshima in the World Team Championships semi-finals in 2016. His next opponent at this event will be Marcelo Aguirre of Paraguay, the world No 86, at 10am UK time on Wednesday.
Pitchford had no such dramas in his first match, overcoming Yevhen Pryshchepa of Ukraine (WR161) in five games. The England No 1 next faces Noshad Alamiyan of Iran, who is ranked No 66. The match is at 8.20am UK time on Wednesday on table 2 – you can watch live by clicking here.
Drinkhall had a difficult day against another Iranian, world No 62 Nima Alamian, in his first match and was defeated in five.
Preliminary Round 2
Liam Pitchford bt Yevhen Pryshchepa (UKR) 4-1 (11-6, 11-3, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6)
Nima Alamian (IRI) bt Paul Drinkhall 4-1 (11-5, 11-6, 11-2, 6-11, 11-8)
Sam Walker bt Jin Ueda (JPN) 4-3 (11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9)