OLYMPICS: Pitchford helps Team GB into quarter-finals

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Chesterfield’s Liam Pitchford has helped Team GB’s table tennis players into the quarter finals of the team event in Rio.

The Brits beat France 3-2, with all five matches of the contest going to five sets and all three Brits playing their part in the win, Paul Drinkhall defeating Emmanuel Lebesson in the second rubber, Pitchford beating Tristan Flore in the fourth rubber and Sam Walker beating Simon Gauzy in the decider after being two sets down.

Pitchford had lost to Gauzy in the first match while Walker and Drinkhall lost to Flore and Lebesson in the doubles.

Pitchford said: “In the first set against Tristan I was 10-8 up then I lost that and lost a bit of confidence.

“After the second set I tried to play with a bit more spin on my backhand, try to get it over the table faster than him and put him under a bit of pressure.

“He played well. I struggled with his serves and he had a match point but it was just about fighting through it really.

“It was nerve wracking watching Sam to say the least. He played amazingly well and I’m really proud of him. It’s not easy to come back from 10-7 down against the number 18 in the world. But he did it and I’m ecstatic.”

The Brits will play world champions and defending Olympic champions China in the quarter finals on Sunday.