Table Tennis: Syed plays his part to keep England afloat

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND have virtually ensured their survival in the top group of the world championships by beating Austria 3-2 here yesterday, writes James Leigh from Gothenburg. Matthew Syed, the Oxford University student who plays part-time, secured the victory by defeating Werner Schlager 21-13, 21-15, and the result has raised hopes that England could qualify for the quarter-finals.

Syed had to overcome private doubts about whether, with only one or two days play a week this season, he could succeed against full-time players. 'I felt mentally weak before the tournament and I really felt the pressure in the decider in a world championship,' Syed said.

Fortunately, he had time to study Schlager's shortcomings against defensive players and exposed the Austrian's weakness against the floated ball.