Paul Drinkhall ended his T2 campaign on a high with a 5-0 victory over Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson, but neither he nor his Team Rossi colleagues could reach the Grand Finals.
Drinkhall managed to edge a series of close games to beat Karlsson 11-7, 11-9, 11-10, 11-10, 5-3 and provide the bright spot in a 16-15 defeat for Team Rossi against Team Persson – Drinkhall was the only winner for the beaten side.
He said: “I had a little luck on my side and that always helps, and the crowd helped me get pumped up for the game. I just went out and enjoyed the match and managed to win the close sets which made all the difference.”
It was the last fixture of the competition in Malaysia for Team Rossi in what was the sixth monthly round of matches.
They started with a 16-13 defeat to Team JJ, in which Drinkhall lost 4-1 (4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 5-2) to Jeong Youngsik of Korea, who was standing in for Tomokazu Harimoto as the teenager was playing in Youth Olympics qualification.
The second match saw Team Maze overcome Team Rossi 19-13, with Drinkhall being beaten 4-1 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 4-5) by Chen Chien-An of Chinese Taipei.
The defeat to Team Persson meant Team Rossi finished last of the four teams, though it was so close that, going into the fixture, they could still have qualified for next month’s Grand Finals by finishing in the top two.
As it was, Team Maze and Team Persson will contest the Grand Finals.
In the individual standings, Drinkhall finished eighth, having won 41 games and lost 45.
The four mane to qualify for the individual Grand Finals were Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who won 52 games for a games difference of +14, Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE) on 48 (+8), Timo Boll (GER) on 48 (+7) and Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) on 48 (+7).
The top four women were Liu Fei (CHN) on 52 games (+24), Shi Xunyao on 50 (+18), Feng Tianwei (SGP) on 49 (+17) and Bernadette Szocs (ROU) on 49 (+7).