It was a quiet start for the England players on the first day of the singles competition at the INTERSPORT European Championships with only two players in action.
Both Liam Pitchford and Daniel Reed progressed with victories although Pitchford’s was somewhat more action-packed than Reed’s.
While Reed cruised through with a comfortable and quick 4-0 demolition of Ireland’s Ashley Robinson, Pitchford found the going tough against Benedek Olah from Finland.
After his great wins over Samsonov, Konecny and Prokopcov you would have thought he would find the going easier against the world number 316, but Olah got out of the blocks quickly and stormed the first set 11-4.
Pitchford replied with a replica scoreline in the second set but, if you thought that was the end of the trouble, it wasn’t. Olah won the third 11-9, then had set points in the fourth before Pitchford scrambled back to win 14-12 and level the game at 2-2.
Eventually Pitchford won the last two sets 11-8, 11-7 but it could have been a different story if Olah had converted his chances to lead 3-1. It doesn’t get easier though; Pitchford faces Alexey Smirnov (20) in the next round. Smirnov defeated Andrew Baggaley in the Austrian Open last month.
Reed also finds himself with a tough opponent after his victory as he will now face Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth (64) in the next round. In fact, only three of our players are ranked higher than their opponents in tomorrow’s fixtures and two of those include matches between home nations (Drinkhall v Howieson and Sibley v Phillips)
In other home nations results there was a doubles win for Ryan and Stephen Jenkins while Angharad Phillips, Craig Howieson and Ryan Jenkins all won their singles matches.
(Eng, Wal, Sco)
R Jenkins/S Jenkins bt S Soine/M Bast 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-4)
L Citaku/B Citaku bt J Murphy/R Owen 3-1 (11-5, 6-11, 117, 11-9)
A Phillips bt A Trstena 4-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7)
L Pitchford bt B Olah 4-2 (4-11, 11-4, 9-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7)
C Howieson bt M Makolli 4-0 (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5)
A Duranspahic bt R Owen 4-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6)
A Silva bt S Jenkins 4-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-1)
R Jenkins bt T Lau 4-2 (6-11. 15-13, 12-10, 11-5, 11-13, 12-10)
D Reed bt A Robinson 4- 0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3)
Parker/Sibley v Pietkiewicz/Luczakowska
Loveridge/Bates v Molnar/Todorovic
Drinkhall/Pitchford v Erlandsen/Ronneberg
Knight/Reed v Sirucek/Tregler
Rumgay/Howieson v Pistej/Illas
Owen/Carey v Wu/Ivancan
Jenkins/Jenkins v Tokic/Karakasevic
Singles: (World ranking)
Bates v Tsistjakova (368)
Drinkhall v Howieson (579)
Pitchford v Smirnov (20)
Knight v Kou (129)
Sibley v Phillips (872)
Owen v Xian (93)
Carey v Karahodzina (429)
Parker v Toth (42)
Rumgay v Libene (1214)
Jenkins v Tan (74)
Loveridge v Dodean (50)
Reed v Fejer-Konnerth (64)