Ho and Carey beaten, but men go through

Paul Stimpson

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Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall are safely into day two of the Olympic qualifying tournament, but Tin-Tin Ho and Charlotte Carey lost their second-round matches in six games to higher-ranked opponents.

Wales No 1 Carey was first on for the GB contingent in Doha and made comfortable work of Zauresh Akasheva (WR 171) of Kazakhstan in her first match, going through in four straight.

Ho was slightly more extended by Ruta Paskauskiene of Lithuania (WR 246), winning in five with a front-foot performance – including a remarkable comeback from 9-1 down to take the third 11-9.

The second-round matches represented sterner tests for the two GB athletes – Carey up against world No 74 Paulina Vega of Chile and Ho facing Margaryta Pesotska (WR 32) of Ukraine.

Carey took the first against her fellow left-hander and then reduced the areas to 3-2 after the Chilean had taken three in a row. The sixth game was a close one, Carey saving two match points at 8-10 – but her opponent took her third chance to move into the semi-finals in the KO1 bracket.

Ho fought hard against Pesotska in the KO2 bracket, twice levelling the match before. But she was unable to do so for a third time as the Ukrainian drove home the advantage to complete a 4-2 victory.

Pitchford, the top seed, breezed past world No 85 Benedek Olah of Finland in four, only seriously challenged when his opponent saved four match points in the fourth. Pitchford then had to save a game point before he took his fifth match point to advance into the quarter-finals, where he will face Jakub Dyjas of Poland (WR 65) at 7am UK time on Monday.

Drinkhall had too much power for world No 159 Pang Yew En Koen of Singapore, going through in five. His next opponent is Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko (WR 185), who suprisingly beat world No 21 Quadri Aruna 4-2. The match is at 7.50am on Monday.

Tables 1-4 are being live-streamed on the ITTF Facebook page – click here to watch.

What is the format?

There are four men’s singles and five women’s singles places in Tokyo up for grabs at the tournament in Doha, Qatar.

The events are made up of two stages of knockouts. In the men’s draw, there are three initial knockout brackets and the winner of each claims an Olympic spot.

The second phase involves one knockout bracket including the beaten finalists and semi-finalists from the first stage, and the winner of that phase will take the fourth and final Olympic place.

In the women’s event, there are four initial knockout brackets, the winner of each section qualifying for the Olympics. The four beaten finalists in the women’s first phase will play a second knockout stage and the winner will also go to Tokyo.


Women’s Singles
Round of 16
Charlotte Carey bt Zauresh Akasheva (KAZ) 4-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2)

Paulina Vega (CHI) bt Carey 4-2 (7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10)

Round of 16
Tin-Tin Ho bt Ruta Paskauskiene (LTU) 4-1 (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6)

Margaryta Pesotska (UKR) bt Ho 4-2 (11-6, 6-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5)

Men’s Singles
Round of 16
Liam Pitchford bt Benedek Olah (FIN) 4-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11)

Round of 16
Paul Drinkhall bt Pang Yew En Koen (SGP) 4-1 (11-4, 11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8)

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