PAUL Drinkhall will have the chance to avenge the defeat of girlfriend Joanna Parker today when he meets Germany’s Dimitrij Ovcharov in the last 32 of the Olympic Games table tennis tournament.
Rotherham-based Drinkhall, who trains at the EIS in Attercliffe, had a fantastic weekend as he dropped just one set over two matches to earn the right to meet world number 12 Ovcharov at the ExCeL centre in London (11am).
There may be a part of him seeking revenge over Germany after Parker was beaten in her second round match by Kristin Silbereisen yesterday morning.
All eyes will now follow Drinkhall though after he easily disposed of Singapore’s Yang Zi 4-1 yesterday afternoon.
He said he feels he still has room to improve: “There’s definitely more to come. Yesterday was perfect. My mentality was good. I was up for it but not too up for it.
“I didn’t let the occasion get to me like he (Yang) did. I did all the basic things well. It wasn’t the best game of table tennis but I was winning all the nitty gritty points. They’re the ones that makes the difference at the end of the game.”
And can he beat Ovcharov, who finished ninth at the Beijing Games four years ago? “We’ll see. He’s ranked a lot higher but the occasion could get the better of him so I’ll prepare like I have been.
“I’m on top of my game and I believe that if the Singapore guy had upped his game I could have changed mine. I’m ready for anything. I’m a massive underdog. I think he’s top 15 in the world and I’m 107 so I’ve nothing to lose, all the pressure is on him.
“Hopefully the crowd will get behind me and we’ll get another victory.”
On Saturday Drinkhall beat Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan 4-0 while Parker won her opening match by the same score against Brazilian Caroline Kumahara.