Liam Pitchford in action against Samsonov (ITTF picture)

Pitchford edged out by Samsonov

Paul Stimpson

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Liam Pitchford could not keep up his recent mastery of Vladimir Samsonov as he was beaten in a deciding seventh set of a pulsating match at the German Open tonight.

Three times Pitchford, who has a good record against Samsonov including victory in last month’s European Team Championships, fought back to level after falling a set behind – but the Belarus great finally shook off the Englishman to go through to the last 16.

After the first four games were shared, with the winner fairly comfortably in charge each time, the match really came alive in the fifth and sixth.

Pitchford, the 16th seed, led the fifth 10-8 but saw his opponent reel off a series of points to take it 12-10. Pitchford also had a game point at 10-9 in the sixth, but then had to save match points at 10-11 and 11-12 before taking his second chance to seal the game and send it to a decider.

In what was a little bit of an anti-climax, however, Samsonov opened a 6-3 lead and kept edging away to seal the victory and set up a tie against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto in the last 16.

Click here to watch the match (registration required).

Drinkhall and Ho make Germany exit


Men’s Singles
Round of 32
Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) bt Liam Pitchford 4-3 (11-7, 4-11, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-5)

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