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Superb England topple Taipei

Paul Stimpson

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England turned in another superb performance at the World Team Championships in Sweden today as they defeated Chinese Taipei 3-1 to make it two victories from two.

It is also two out of two for England women, who beat Switzerland in the deciding set of the deciding match.

The men’s team were first on and, rankings-wise, England are currently 13th in the world and their opponents sixth. With every member of the Chinese Taipei team ranked above their English counterpart it was a tough task on paper.

But from the moment Paul Drinkhall saved five match points to defeat world No 16 Chuang Chih-Yuan, the overall result seldom looked in doubt.

Liam Pitchford turned in two performances of real authority to ensure that Sam Walker’s defeat to world No 80 Lin Yun-Ju was academic.

Drinkhall led off against Chuang and the first four games were shared, Drinkhall winning the first and third.

The decider saw Chuang open up a 6-1 lead and then advance out to 10-5. Game over? Not in this England set-up. Seven points later Drinkhall was the winner and bellowing a celebration which reflected how important it is to get that first match on the board.

Click here to watch Drinkhall vs Chuang

The next three matches did not have the same level of drama, but the conclusion of Pitchford’s 3-1 victory over world No 30 Chen Chien-An again demonstrated the squad’s ability to withstand pressure and overcome setbacks.

Pitchford led that game 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11 but saw his opponent save all three match points and then bring up a game point of his own. Continuing to back his game, Pitchford saved that and then secured his fourth match point by practically running all the way around his side of the table to meet a short, angled shot by Chen and put away a venomous backhand. This time, the match point was taken.

Click here to watch Pitchford vs Chen

Walker won the first against Lin, but his opponent took charge from then, and it was left to Pitchford to demolish Chuang in three straight to seal overall victory.

Click here to watch Walker vs Lin

Click here to watch Pitchford vs Chuang

England are back on the table against Japan at 6pm UK time.

England’s women won their second match of the tournament as they overcame Switzerland 3-2 after a two-and-a-half-hour battle.

The teams are ranked joint 31st in the world, and the closeness of the tie matched expectations, but all three English girls won a match each, meaning Rachel Moret’s double for the Swiss was in vain.

Tin-Tin Ho started it off with a 3-0 win over Rahel Aschwanden, ranked No 149 in the world.

Moret was the top-ranked player in the tie at 71, and she asserted herself after losing the first game to Maria Tsaptsinos, levelling the overall score.

Denise Payet has adapted to this level very quickly and she made sure she was not affected by missing a match point in the third as she defeated Celine Reust – ranked 205 places above her at 426 – 3-1 to restore England’s lead.

Again, Switzerland came back as Moret won in four close games against Ho, and it came down to Tsaptsinos against Aschwanden for the win.

The English player stormed through the first but then found herself 2-1 down. But she found her range and dominated the last two games to keep England’s 100% record intact.

England are next in action tomorrow against Chile at 9am UK time and Canada at 6pm.


Men’s Group C
England 3 Chinese Taipei 1
Paul Drinkhall bt Chuang Chih-Yuan 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10)
Liam Pitchford bt Chen Chien-An 3-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 15-13)
Lin Yun-Ju bt Sam Walker 3-1 (9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5)
Pitchford bt Chuang 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-8)

Women’s Group H
England 3 Switzerland 2
Tin-Tin Ho bt Rahel Aschwanden 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 14-12)
Rachel Moret bt Maria Tsaptsinos 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8)
Denise Payet bt Celine Reust 3-1 (11-5, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5)
Moret bt Ho 3-1 (11-8, 16-14, 9-11, 12-10)
Tsaptsinos bt Aschwanden 3-2 (11-0, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4)

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