Sam Walker notched a bit of English table tennis history in reaching the men’s doubles quarter-finals at the European Championships.
Playing alongside Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen, they started with a 3-0 (12-10, 11-8, 11-4) victory over Russian pair Vladimir Sidorenko & Vildan Gadiev in the second preliminary round.
They then knocked out two seeded pairs – 15th-ranked Bojan Tokic & Darko Jorgic of Slovenia 4-2 (11-7, 12-10, 12-14, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9) in the last 32 and fifth seeds Nandor Ecseki & Adam Szudi of Hungary 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10) in the last 16.
That put them into the last eight – and Walker was the first English athlete to reach that stage since Des Douglas and Alan Cooke in 1990.
However, they found the third seeds from Germany, Ruwen Filus & Ricardo Walther, too strong as their opponents won it 4-1 (11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6).
In the men’s singles, Walker won his group at a canter, only dropping one set in total against opponents from Iceland, Spain and Romania.
He then faced 30th seed Wang Yang of Slovakia in the last 64, ranked 30 places higher than him at No 69 in the world, and was beaten 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4).