Table Tennis Upsets at Saudi Smash 2024: Pitchford and Drinkhall Eliminated

Table Tennis Upset in Saudi Smash Tournament

On May 5, 2024, table tennis fans were left disappointed as two of the sport’s prominent players, Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall, both exited the Saudi Smash tournament in the round of 64.

Liam Pitchford, currently ranked 25th in the world, faced off against Germany’s Ruwen Filus (WR 74) and struggled to find his rhythm early on, losing the first game 11-3 and falling behind 7-1 in the second. However, the Englishman fought back to make it 7-6, ultimately losing the second game 11-7. In the third game, Pitchford kept pace with his opponent, even leading at several points, but Filus managed to win the final two points to clinch the match 3-0 and advance to face China’s Lin Shidong (WR 15) in the last 32.

Earlier, fellow Englishman Paul Drinkhall (WR 121) made an impressive start against Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu (WR 50), winning the first game 11-1. But the Romanian battled back to take the next three games and seal a 3-1 victory, setting up a clash with world number one Wang Chuqin of China.

In the doubles events, Pitchford and Drinkhall have been drawn to face Lubomir Pistej (SVK) and Baldwin Chan (HKG) in the last 32 of the Men’s Doubles, with the match time yet to be confirmed. Additionally, Pitchford and Anna Hursey were defeated 3-0 by Alexis Lebrun and Jia Nan Yuan of France in the last 32 of the Mixed Doubles, despite leading the second game 8-6.

The early exits of Pitchford and Drinkhall will be a disappointment for their supporters, but the table tennis action is set to continue at the Saudi Smash as the tournament progresses.

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