Baku 2015: Pitchford and Drinkhall book third round spots

17 June 2015 / 14:19

Confidence in his own ability was key for London 2012 Olympian Liam Pitchford as he came from two sets down to beat Admir Duranspahic and progress into the third round of the European Games table tennis competition.

Pitchford got off to a slow start against his Bosnian opponent, finding himself 2-0 down inside ten minutes.

But drawing on all his experience, the 21-year-old double Commonwealth silver medallist refused to panic, rattling off the next four games to triumph 4-2.

The victory sets up a third round meeting with Slovakia’s Wang Yang on Thursday although Pitchford knows he will need to be quicker out of the blocks in that game.

“I'm a bit relieved to get through it, I didn't really start very well and was a bit safe and not really into my game,” he said.

“But after that I just told myself to keep fighting and I knew that if I could play my game that I could win so I'm just happy to have done that.

“At 2-0 down I was a bit angry at myself and I didn't feel like I had started to play yet but I stuck in there and started to find it at the end.

“Hopefully tomorrow it will be better. I'm playing a defender and it will be a tough game. I lost to him once but I'll just go in there and see how it goes.

“Hopefully it will be better than out there today but it was nice to play in that atmosphere and to play in the European Games.”

Pitchford’s victory completed a double success for Great Britain at the Baku Sports Hall on Wednesday with Paul Drinkhall having earlier booked his place in the third round.

The 25-year-old won the last three games on the spin to beat Hungarian Adam Pattantyus 4-2 and will next face Slovakia’s Bojan Tokic.

“It's good to be a part of the tournament and the event and even better to make it through the second round,” said London 2012 Olympian Drinkhall.

“It was quite a tough match and he has a strange style and haven't played him before. It took a few games to get used to.

“It's great to be continuing in the tournament. It's a very strange style, normally you would call him a defender but he attacked from the forehand as well.

“That makes it a lot harder because I'm playing against two different techniques and in the beginning I made a few mistakes.

“He gets a lot of side spin on the ball and he lets the ball drop so you sometimes don't see him hit it and you just have to wait for the bounce.

“I've never beaten Tokic before so it's going to be a tough match, we have had quite a few close battles in the past and but I'm confident I can beat him tomorrow.”  

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