Liam Pitchford beat Panagiotis Gionis

Rio trio show up well at tournament

Paul Stimpson

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Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker put in some encouraging performances at a pre-Olympic tournament in Germany.

Featuring the top German players and other highly-ranked players, the tournament was won by Germany’s Timo Boll (WR 14), who defeated Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus (WR 9) in the final.

Boll earlier beat compatriot Dimitrij Ovtcharov (WR 5) in the semi-finals, while Samsonov defeated Bastian Steger (GER, 24).

Although they did not reach the semi-finals, Pitchford (WR 49) and Drinkhall (WR 58) enjoyed a victory apiece in the groups.

Drinkhall defeated world No 28 Li Ping of Qatar 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-9) but was beaten 3-1 by Ovtcharov (11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 8-11), while Pitchford overcame world No 26 Pangiotis Gionis of Greece 3-2 (11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 2-11, 11-8) and lost 3-0 (11-3, 13-11, 11-1) to Boll.

Although Walker, ranked No 129, was defeated in both his matches, he acquitted himself well in two 3-2 defeats, to Steger (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11) and world No 23 Alexander Shibaev of Russia (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 9-11).

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