Paul Drinkhall on his way to victory over Mihai Bobocica (ITTF picture)

Drinkhall run ends in quarter-finals in Portugal

Paul Stimpson

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Paul Drinkhall’s run at the Portugal Open ended in the quarter-finals at the hands of Germany’s Qiu Dang.

The English No 2, the 14th seed in Lisbon, twice came from a set down to level against his opponent, the world No 77, but Dang took the next two. He went on to win the tournament.

Click here to watch Drinkhall v Qiu Dang (registration required).

Drinkhall moved into the last eight in dramatic circumstances as he survived missing two match points in the fifth game of his last-16 tie to finally beat Mihai Bobocica in seven.

Drinkhall had looked in command of the match as he built on two 4-0 wins in the opening two rounds to win the first two games against his Italian opponent, ranked No 131 in the world.

Bobocica won the third but Drinkhall took the next and was 10-8 up in the fifth as he had one foot in the last eight.

However, his opponent took the next four points and then levelled with an 11-8 game in the sixth. Drinkhall was 7-4 down in the decider but clawed it back and at 9-9 it was anyone’s. But it was Drinkhall who held his nerve to move through.

Click here to watch Drinkhall v Bobocica (registration required).

On Friday, Drinkhall won his opening two matches in confident style to go through to the last 16.

The Englishman, seeded 14th, did not drop a game in dispatching Yang Heng-Wei of Chinese Taipei (WR 190) in the last 64 and world No 103 Niagol Stoyanov of Italy in the following round.

Prior to meeting Drinkhall, Bobocica beat sixth seed Chen Chien-An 4-3 in the last 32. Chen had previously seen off Tom Jarvis in the last 64, though Jarvis held his own for large parts of the match against the world No 55 from Chinese Taipei, leading 2-1 and seeing the fourth game go 14-12 to his opponent, who then pulled away to win in six.

David McBeath also lost in six in his round of 64 match against world No 78 Joao Monteiro of the host nation. It was a different pattern to Jarvis, though, as McBeath closed from 3-0 to 3-2 down before his opponent finally got his all-important fourth game.

Jarvis went out of the under-21s, beaten 3-1 in the quarter-finals by Nikhil Kumar of the USA.


Men’s Singles
Round of 64
Joao Monteiro (POR) bt David McBeath 4-2 (11-7, 11-3, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-3)
Paul Drinkhall bt Yang Heng-Wei (TPE) 4-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7)
Chen Chien-An (TPE) bt Tom Jarvis 4-2 (11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-5, 11-6)

Round of 32
Drinkhall bt Niagol Stoyanov (ITA) 4-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7)

Round of 16
Drinkhall bt Mihai Bobocica (ITA) 4-3 (11-8, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9)

Qiu Dang (GER) bt Drinkhall 4-2 (11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9)

Under-21 Men’s Singles
Nikhil Kumar (USA) bt Jarvis 3-1 (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9)

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