Table tennis: Paul Drinkhall bows out of World Championships against world No. 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov

Paul Drinkhall exited the World Championships to world No 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Photo: ITTF)
Paul Drinkhall exited the World Championships to world No 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Photo: ITTF)
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Yorkshire's Paul Drinkhall admitted there was not much more he could have done after world No 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov ended his run at the World Championships.

Europe’s top player was in superb form dispatching Drinkhall 4-1 (11-3, 5-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5) in the last 64 of the singles.

It ended the Loftus player’s interest in the competition – he and partner Liam Pitchford were eliminated at the same stage of the doubles.

Drinkhall, who had beaten Ovtcharov at the Russian Open in 2014, said: “He’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.

Drinkhall had beaten Brazilian left-hander Cazuo Matsumoto in the first round, coming through 4-2 (8-11, 11-3, 11-1, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7) and he added: “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, Drinkhall and Pitchford had easy wins in the two qualifying rounds, overcoming Ocean Belrose & Kenji Hotan of French Polynesia 3-0 (11-1, 11-7, 11-2) and Samuel Galves & Emil Santos of the Dominican Republic also 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-6).

But they were beaten 4-2 (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 15-13, 11-6) in the first round proper by India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta & Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who will be possible rivals for Commonwealth Games medals next year.

Drinkhall said: “When we played well and played our game we were the better pairing 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.”

Drinkhall will now take a break but will be back in action at the end of this month in the first round of the new T2 competition in Malaysia.

He has also announced he is moving from the Spanish league to Poland for next season, where he will play for the Jaroslaw club in the superleague.