by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In fact it was a contest the English duo won five-nil!
After securing the first game, they led 10-8 in the second and then promptly lost the next four points; then in the second they went ahead 9-6 and lost five points in a row. They dominated the fourth game but when the Indian duo recovered from 9-5 in arrears in the fifth game to 9-8, one wondered if there was to be a repeat of the second and third games.
It was third time successful, Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford won the next two points; England celebrated; nobody more so than coach Marcus Sjöberg, he leapt for joy; you would have thought he was standing on white hot charcoal.
“They played well at those crucial stages in the second and third games; I was stressed. We just continued to play our game, we did what we needed to do. Our team members were all there cheering for us; that really helped. Marcus in the corner has been great. I’m disappointed I didn’t do better in the Men’s Singles but that’s sport. Today we won.” Paul Drinkhall
“We were losing two-one but really we were ahead three-nil; we felt we’d won those first three games so if we kept playing the same then we knew we could win.” Liam Pitchford.
Silver for India, it was also bronze. Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty, the no.4 seeds, beat Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen and Ethan Poh Shao Feng to reserve the third step of the podium (11-5, 11-6, 12-10).
A bronze medal for Sanil Shetty, something he never expected two weeks ago; he was the last minute replacement for the injured Soumyajit Ghosh.
“We had to be aggressive, we became a little nervous towards the end of the match; it’s only the second time we’ve ever played together, we played last year at the Thailand Open but that’s all. I must thank all the fans for supporting us.” Sanil Shetty
“I was supposed to partner Soumyajit Ghosh, we’d practised and we were prepared but I had no time to practise with Sanil. I dedicate this medal to Soumyajit Ghosh.” Harmeet Desai
Play concludes on Sunday 15th April with the medal matches in the Mixed Doubles and Men’s Doubles events.