European wins boost Baggaley’s confidence

Andrew Baggaley
Andrew Baggaley
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Andrew Baggaley is optimistic for the rest of the season after winning eight matches out of 11 at the European Championships in Russia.

The Milton Keynes ace, 32, featured in all six England team matches as the squad – also including Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker and Danny Reed – finished in 20th position.

That was short of the 17th required to win the second-tier Challenge Division but enough to put them in the pot of second seeds for the upcoming draw for the qualifying groups for the next championships

“I think overall it was a good team performance,” said Baggaley.

“Obviously we’re slightly disappointed with losing to Belgium. I think we’re a better side than them but it’s all on the day and they played better, that’s how it goes.”

In the men’s singles qualifying groups, Baggaley set up a ‘winner-takes-all’ clash with Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko for a place in the last 64 and it was his 150th-ranked opponent who claimed victory in a close match, Baggaley going down 2-3.

Baggaley said: “I ended up winning eight matches and I lost three, so I’m pretty pleased with that. Obviously I know I can do more but overall I think I played well and I’ve got more to come.

“I won three matches and lost a very tight match to get through. Zhmudenko is also a top player, he can also beat lots of top players. It was nip and tuck.

“I’m there or thereabouts now. I’m quite optimistic about my game, I’ve just got to move on and play some international opens.”