Pitchford into world’s top 20

Paul Stimpson

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Liam Pitchford has broken into the top 20 in the world rankings for the first time, rising to a new career high of No 16.

The Chesterfield man climbed eight places on the back of another superb World Tour performance last month, when he beat European champion and world No 3 Timo Boll en route to reaching the Austrian Open semi-finals.

His ranking equals the career highs of three other English stand-outs – Ernie Bubley (1938), Chester Barnes (1967) and Denis Neale (1973). It is the highest position attained by an English athlete since 1980, when John Hilton reached No 5. Desmond Douglas reached No 7 in 1978.

Meanwhile, Sam Walker is now England’s No 2, despite dropping two places to No 95, as Paul Drinkhall has fallen out of the top 100 and now stands at No 113.

Tin-Tin Ho remains England’s top female player at No 113.

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