Baggaley on top of world again

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Andrew Baggaley is the ping pong world champion for the third time.

The Englishman defeated China’s Wang Shibo 3-2 in a thrilling World Championship of Ping Pong final at Alexandra Palace tonight.

Twice Baggaley moved in front only for his opponent, the defending champion, to level the score and take it to a deciding set.

But Baggaley turned the screw in the fifth to give a partisan crowd the result they wanted, taking it 15-6 to add the title to those he won in 2015 and 2016 and claim the top prize of $20,000.

Afterwards Baggaley, who was battling cramps in his hand in the latter stages of the final, told Sky Sports the victory was the best of his three in the event, having beaten all three of the other players to have won this title en route to his triumph.

He added: “He pushed me to the limit. He’s an amazing player – he threw everything at me and I threw everything at him. He was just a few points here and there. I’m so happy.”

Wang had earlier ended the run of Chris Doran who, as he had last year, reached the semi-finals.

Doran had won all his five matches 2-0 without conceding more than 10 points in a game up to that point, but Wang was a different proposition as ball after ball came back on the table, as Doran ruefully reflected: “I don’t think I did myself justice. He played a great game – he’s so solid, you almost feel like you’re playing a brick wall.”

Baggaley earlier came through against former champion Maxim Shmyrev in the last 16 and then came from behind to defeat China’s Yan Weihao, another ex-champion, in the quarters – the point at 14-14 in the second game a sudden death situation which could have seen him eliminated.

By comparison, his semi-final against Chen Jie, also of China and the last woman in the competition, was more straightforward.

In the earlier stages of the competition, Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay reached the last 16, where he was beaten in a close match by Hu Junchao, the Chinese winning 15-14, 15-11.

Northern Ireland’s Paul McCreery, Scotland’s Ian Johnston and Irish pair Zak Wilson and Gavin Maguire went out in the group stage – Wilson beaten by Rumgay on the way.

Results (English players)

Group B
Ashley Stokes bt Jakub Dorocinski (POL) 2-0 (15-14, 15-10)
Huang Jungang (CHN) bt Stokes 2-0 (15-9, 15-7)
John Russel Misal (PHI) bt Stokes 2-1 (10-15, 15-9, 15-8)

Group C
Chris Doran bt Shen Jianyu (CHN) 2-0 (15-4, 15-7)
Doran bt Robert Janke (GER) 2-0 (15-10, 15-6)

Group F
Andrew Baggaley bt Roman Puchkin (RUS) 2-0 (15-8, 15-3)
Baggaley bt Omry Ben Ari (ISR) 2-0 (15-8, 15-12)

Round of 32
Baggaley bt Dai Suchuan (CHN) 2-0 (15-10, 15-8)
Doran bt Yohan Lecomte (FRA) 2-0 (15-3, 15-8)

Round of 16
Baggaley bt Maxim Shmyrev (RUS) 2-1 (14-15, 15-8, 15-8)
Doran bt John Russel Misal (PHI) 2-0 (15-10, 15-4)

Quarter-finals
Baggaley bt Yan Weihao (CHN) 2-1 (7-15, 15-14, 15-5)
Doran bt Anton Andersson (SWE) 2-0 (15-8, 15-5)

Semi-finals
Baggaley bt Chen Jie (CHN) 2-0 (15-9, 15-4)
Wang Shibo (CHN) 2-0 bt Doran (15-6, 15-11)

Final
Baggaley bt Wang 3-2 (15-10, 12-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-6)

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