Sam Walker ends England’s 25-year wait for doubles title

Sam Walker.

Walker and Swedish partner Truls Moregard rose to the top seeds at the Czech Open in Olomouc, beating French duo Leo de Nodrest and Lilian Bardet 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 11-7 , 7-11, 11-7).

Walker had only become the third English player to reach a Tour final and, although this event is a lower level than the Platinum Qatar Open final that Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall reached in 2020, it is still a piece of the history of English table tennis for Walker. .

They had a few other close games on the way, beating Russian pair Aleksandr Tiutruimov and Sadi Ismailov 3-2 (11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5) in the first round and Snehit Suravajjula and Jeet Chandra from India 3-2 (8-11, 15-13, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4) in the semi-final.

Sam Walker and Truls Moregard.

Walker said: “Just to win any international open is amazing – I’ve never won anything like it, so it’s really good.

“We played really well in the first game against the Russians, which was a tough game, a really good doubles game, and it all started from there. For some reason we were good in the last set.

“It’s nice to play with Truls because he’s relaxed about it and has a really good quality, especially on his serve and reception. His character is good and in the first round we said to appreciate it – and that’s what we did. “

In mixed doubles, Walker and his England teammate Tin-Tin Ho beat sixth seed Samuel Kaluzny and Ema Labosova of Slovakia 3-1 (11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 15-13) en route to reach the quarter-finals.

There, Moregard was in opposition and he and his compatriot Linda Bergstrom won over the England pair 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 24-22, 9-11, 12-10).

Walker unfortunately lost in the first round of the singles as Suravajjula beat him 4-2 (5-11, 3-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8).

Walker is also thrilled to have a few games under his belt after a tough first half of the year and added: “The main reason I’m not at the top of my game lately is not having this series of games.

“I lost in singles after winning the first two games and feeling comfortable, but the Indian (Snehit Suravajjula) played really well and this lack of clarity in the game made me slip away.

“Getting the doubles matches really helped – they’re still matches and it’s good to get those under my belt ready for the season.”

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