ROTHERHAM table tennis ace Paul Drinkhall will face one of the strongest players in the world in the third round of the men’s singles competition after he secured a superb 4-1 victory at the ExCeL Centre on Sunday.
Drinkhall, the 22-year-old who was born in Middlesbrough but lives in Rotherham, beat Singapore’s Yang Zi 4-1 in Sunday’s second round.
That victory ensured that Drinkhall, currently 107th in the world, will play in the next round against Germany rival Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who currently lies just outside the top ten in the world rankings.
Although he is in excellent form Drinkhall didn’t expect such a comfortable victory over Yang in front of a partisan crowd in London.
He said: “I didn’t. I knew I was going to be nervous so I wanted to start well, and I did. I got the first set and then the crowd really got behind me. I think he knew that from the start.
“He came out really pumped because he knew everyone would be against him and I think that worked against him. He seemed really nervous and unsettled and I capitalised on that. It was fairly comfortable in the end.
“There was a couple of a close games but I felt on top all the way.”
Drinkhall is now into the last 32 of the competition. His match on Monday begins at 11am.