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Henzell's heroics fall short

30 July 2012

TABLE TENNIS: William Henzell's quest for singles glory ended on Monday, going down to Vladimir samsonov of Belarus in seven thrilling sets.

Henzell had previously upset highly ranked opponents en route to the third round, however Samsonov, ranked in the top 10 in the world, proved too strong after a pulsating encounter, winning 10-12, 11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11.

With IOC president Jacque Rogge and Denmark's Prince Frederick looking on, Henzell looked likely to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic table tennis history.

He led 4-1 in the deciding set before a samsonov rallied to win.

"Every set was down to the wire, but there is a reason he has been a top 10 player for the last 15 years," Henzell said.

"I just focused on every point, that is what I have done really well throughout. To play like this I focused on this for 18 months. But I'm not retiring, I am looking to put in a similar performance in Rio in 2016."

The tone was set early in the contest, with Henzell saving three set points in the opening salvo, before dropping the set. He evened the match at one set all after taking second set 11-8, then he stunned the Belarusian by saving five set points in the third to take the lead.

Samsonov took the next two sets, both tight affairs, before Henzell sent them match to a sudden death seventh set.

Kevin Diggerson in London
Olympics.com.au 

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William Henzell
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