Sam Walker pulled off a thrilling comeback to beat Germany’s Benedikt Duda at the Czech Open today, but then went out of the competition in the final preliminary round.

Walker found himself 2-0 and 3-1 down to the world No 46 Duda, but demonstrated his composure and class to take the fifth and sixth sets 11-4 and 11-7 respectively, completing his fightback by taking the decider 11-9.

However, bidding to join eighth seed Liam Pitchford in the main draw, Walker was defeated 4-2 by Cristian Pletea of Romania, the world No 115 who won bronze at the World Junior Championships last year.

Paul Drinkhall narrowly lost to opponent Alexander Shibaev 2-4 (12-10, 14-16, 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 3-11) in the third of four preliminary rounds as the Russian, ranked No 65, proved too strong towards the later stages of the match.

Shibaev now has the chance to make it a double English scalp after he was drawn to face Pitchford in the last 32. The match is at 7.30pm UK time tomorrow on table 1 – click here to watch live (registration required).

Drinkhall could savour success in the men’s doubles, however, alongside Tom Jarvis. The pair were losing 2-0 to Alexandru Cazacu of Romania & Lorencio Lupulesku of Serbia, but turned it around in a tight third game, which they took 14-12. That was the launchpad for taking the next two games 11-5, and 11-3.

However, they ran into an in-form Chinese pair in the final preliminary round, missing out on a place in the last 16 as they went down 3-0 to Zhao Zihao & Zhu Linfeng.

Walker & David McBeath are also out, beaten in three tight sets by Swedish pair Anton Kallberg & Truls Moregard in the first preliminary round.

Tin-Tin Ho & Karoline Mischek of Austria, who together won European Under-12 gold this year, went out at the first hurdle of the women’s doubles at the hands of a Portuguese pair, the match hinging on the second game, which their opponents took 15-13 on their way to a 3-0 victory.

Jarvis, who teamed up with Charlotte Carey of Wales, bowed out of the mixed doubles with defeat against Marcos Freitas (WR 24) and Fu Yu (WR 36) of Portugal.


Men’s Singles
Preliminary round 3
Sam Walker bt Benedikt Duda (GER) 4-3 (6-11, 3-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9)
Alexander Shibaev (RUS) bt Paul Drinkhall 4-2 (10-12, 16-14, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3)

Preliminary round 4
Cristian Pletea (ROU) bt Walker 4-2 (11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5)

Men’s Doubles
Preliminary round 1
Anton Kallberg & Truls Moregard bt David McBeath & Sam Walker 3-0 (11-9, 15-13, 11-9)
Paul Drinkhall & Tom Jarvis bt Alexandru Cazacu (ROU) & Lorencio Lupulesku (SRB) 3-2 (4-11, 10-12, 14-12, 11-5, 11-3)

Preliminary round 2
Zhao Zihao & Zhu Linfeng (CHN) bt Drinkhall & Jarvis 3-0 (11-4, 11-3, 11-7)

Women’s Doubles
Leila Oliveira & Jieni Shao (POR) bt Tin-Tin Ho & Karoline Mischek (AUT) 3-0 (11-7, 15-13, 11-6)

Mixed doubles
Preliminary round 1
Marcos Freitas & Fu Yu (POR) bt Tom Jarvis & Charlotte Carey (WAL) 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6)