Liam Pitchford is playing his best table tennis in Birmingham

·2 min read
Nov 27, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Paul Drinkhall of England and Liam Pitchford of England celebrate a point against Shunsuke Togami (not pictured) and Yukiya Uda (not pictured) of Japan in the menÕs double quarter finals match during the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals at George R, Brown Convention Center. Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda won the match 3 games to 1 game. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports (USA TODAY USPW / reuters)

Liam Pitchford believes he is playing his best table tennis at the Commonwealth Games as he looks to leave Birmingham with more than just his bronze from the men’s team event.

Chesterfield star Pitchford beat Singapore’s Yew En Koen Pang to progress to the last eight of the men’s singles having already booked a semi-final in the men’s doubles with Paul Drinkhall.

Pitchford edged a frenetic first game 17-15 before grabbing control of the match and ease away from his opponent and wrap up an emphatic 4-0 victory.

And the 29-year-old believes he is peaking at the right time.

"It feels great,” said Pitchford. “It’s probably the best feeling I have had in table tennis for a long time. I can't really describe it,

“I played one of the best matches I have played in a long time.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Pitchford’s victory rounded off a terrific day for England at the NEC, with Drinkhall and Sam Walker also progressing in the singles.

The doubles partnership of Drinkhall and Pitchford were even both playing their singles matches alongside one another at one stage, sending the crowd into overdrive.

And Pitchford believes the home support is helping him at the table.

“It is massive, it gives me a few extra points a set for sure,” added Pitchford.

“Especially when I was down set point in the first set, there were a few big rallies, I was trying to stay in the points.

“Knowing the crowd was behind me, I just tried to win the points somehow.

“It was really good and to have all of my teammates behind me, I’m growing in confidence.”

It sets up another busy day for Pitchford, who will look to secure progression to the men’s singles semi-finals at 10..10am before teaming up with Drinkhall in the doubles at 12.25pm.

But Pitchford is determined not to get ahead of himself with plenty of table tennis still to play.

“I just have to give my all in every match, set and point I play,” said Pitchford.

“I know that if I play like that, then there are not many players that can live with me and it’s just about doing that tomorrow and the day after that if I need to.”

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