England quartet react to Worlds display

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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England’s Leopards have been talking about their performance at the World Championships. Here’s what they have had to say.

Paul Drinkhall

Singles: Last 64, beaten 4-1 (11-3, 5-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5) by Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER)

Doubles: Last 64 with Liam Pitchford, beaten 4-2 (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 15-13, 11-6) by Sharath Kamal Achanta & Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (IND)

Ovtcharov’s in a good place and he played a great game. I didn’t quite play how I wanted to and because he was playing so well it was difficult for me to find my game.

I was close to doing it a couple of times, in the second game and after I took my timeout in the fourth, but he took his timeout and made it difficult for me to get back in.

I feel I performed quite well. It was good to come through my first match because that was tough, his style is quite strange.

In the doubles, when we played well and played our game we were the better pairing (than the Indians) but they were more consistent through the match and weren’t making as many mistakes as us.

If we play well we feel we are better than them, but we need to do it for the whole game.

Overall, I’d have like to have done better but in both the singles and doubles I got to where my seeding was, so it wasn’t good or bad.

Liam Pitchford

Singles: Last 128, beaten 4-3 (8-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9) by Nima Alamian (IRI)

Doubles: Last 64 with Paul Drinkhall, beaten 4-2 (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 15-13, 11-6) by Sharath Kamal Achanta & Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (IND)

It’s a bad tournament but it’s not the end of my career – there’s a lot more World Championships to play in.

In the singles, I should have won the second game to go 2-0 up and that might have made it a different match, and I had a two-point lead in the last game.

He played well and I missed a few balls I would normally expect to make.

In the doubles, we weren’t really tested in the opening rounds but we went into the match against the Indians fairly confident. We had our chances. We were 2-1 and 10-9 up and we had set points in the fifth. Our high level was higher than theirs, but they were a bit more solid.

It’s been an up-and-down six months for me. I had an injury and I think I’ve lost a bit of confidence in my game and was doubting myself a bit and how the arm had recovered.

The last few weeks I’ve been feeling a lot better and have been practising much better. Maybe it came a few weeks too early for me to be in my best form.

I’m positive for the future. I’ve got a good team around me and know where I want to go and what I need to do to get there.

Sam Walker

Singles: Last 128, beaten 4-3 (11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8) by Jakub Dyjas (POL)

Doubles: Last 16, beaten 4-2 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 13-15, 11-7) by Chien-An Chen & Cheng-Ting Liao (TPE)

Before the tournament we were quite a new pairing and I don’t think anybody really expected us to make it that far.

I don’t think we even played our best and there’s a lot more to work on and improve. It’s promising times for us as a pair.

We were almost out of it at 2-0 and 9-7 down to the Singapore pair in qualifying but we managed to turn it around and win and that gave us a lot of confidence.

We started a bit slowly in the last 16 and maybe got the tactics wrong at the beginning but by the end we looked as good as them, if not better.

There’s definitely promise there but we’ve got to work hard in the practice hall and I think we’ll have as good a chance as anyone at the Commonwealths.

In the singles, I’m disappointed but not frustrated. He changed his tactics and upped his game, so credit to him.

David McBeath

Singles: Qualifying stage, beaten 4-1 (9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8) by Anh Tu Nguyen (VIE)

Doubles: Last 16, beaten 4-2 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 13-15, 11-7) by Chien-An Chen & Cheng-Ting Liao (TPE)

I’m very pleased, it’s a good result for us. It’s our first few months playing together – we played at the Nationals and at the Slovenia and Croatia Opens and we’ve got better each time we’ve played.

Here, we started to show what we are capable of and we were really pleased to beat the French pair (Gauzy & Robinot in the last 32). We were playing well, they upped their game but we kept the pressure on and came through.

In the last 16, I think we didn’t play the right way at the beginning but then we got a hold of it and started to get on top. If we’d started like we finished, we could have won it.

We haven’t shown our full potential and we’ve got to the last 16 of the Worlds – there’s a lot more to come.

In the singles, I’m very disappointed. I didn’t get going, I think he was better than I expected and maybe I went in a bit cold, but I don’t want to make excuses.

It’s mixed emotions – disappointed with the singles but please with how the doubles went.

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