Tough draw for top seed Syed

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The Independent Online
Table tennis

Matthew Syed, the England No 1, will be the top seed in the men's singles at the English National Championships at Brighton on 16 and 17 March.

Syed, who gained his No. 1 ranking as a result of victories over mainly foreign opposition, will have to play at a world-class level to withstand expected challenges from Carl Prean in the semi-finals and Alan Cooke or Desmond Douglas in the final.

Prean, is still not available for England because he will not play with the Chinese player Chen Xinhua. It is anticipated he will play John Holland in the quarter-finals and, if successful, Syed in the semi-finals.

Lisa Lomas, the England women's No. 1, is seeded to meet Andrea Holt, the holder, in the final. The unluckiest player in the draw was Nicola Deaton, who won the Welsh Open a fortnight ago. The points she gained did not reach the computer in time to give her a higher ranking.

ENGLISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (Brighton): Seeds (in draw order): Men: M Syed (Berks), B Billington (Derby), J Holland (Essex), C Prean (IoW), D Douglas (Warwicks), A Eden (Essex), J Taylor (Lancs), A Cooke (Derby). Women: L Lomas (Beds), N Deaton (Derby), S Marling (Yorks), A Broe (Berks), H Lower (Staffs), L Radford (Essex), G Schwartz (Berks), A Holt (Lancs).