Spanish Open champion Paul Drinkhall is into the last four in Russia

Two brilliant comeback victories have put Paul Drinkhall into the semi-finals of the Russian Open and earned him a crack against top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

The 24-year-old Teessider dispatched sixth seed Eonrae Cho in the last 16 and third seed Marcos Freitas in the quarter-finals in Ekaterinburg today.

And both times, he came from 2-0 down to win the next four games and keep alive his title dreams and a chance of a place in the World Tour Grand Finals.

Drinkhall, seeded 21st, lost the first two games against Korea’s world No 23 Cho 11-6 and 11-5, but got on a roll to take the next four 11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.

Click here to view the whole match against Cho

Even better was to come against world No 12 Freitas. Having lost the first two 11-3, 11-4 to the Portuguese ace, Drinkhall took a pivotal third game 13-11 and then levelled with an 11-7 scoreline.

With both players battling hard for victory, it was the Englishman who prevailed, taking the next two 14-12, 12-10 to book his place in a last-four clash with Germany’s world No 5 Ovtcharov.

Click here to view the whole match against Freitas

Unfortunately, Liam Pitchford was unable to join his compatriot in the latter stages, going out 4-2 in the last 16 to Japan’s fourth seed and world No 15 Koki Niwa (8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11).

Paul Stimpson
November 8, 2014