Baggaley into the last 32 of Ping Pong Championships

Andrew Baggaley
Andrew Baggaley

Milton Keynes’ Andrew Baggaley has been drawn to face Israel’s Omry Ben Ari in the last 32 of the Ping Pong World Championships.

The defending two-time champion eased through Group A in the Saturday afternoon session, winning two from two to confirm his place in the next round.

First, he dispatched of Northern Irishman Peter Graham in straight sets (15-10 15-5) in the 2017 Alexandra Palace opener.

He then eased past a tiring Peter Palos with the Hungarian victim to a 15-5 15-6 loss.

By winning two consecutive group games in qualification, Baggaley was put in Pot A, avoiding the rest of the top seeds.

Ben Ari lost his opening game to be Spaniard Marc Duran but beat Robert Lorinczi and Scot Ian Johnston to book his meeting with the reigning champion.

Baggaley will be the massive favourite to progress when the players meet at approximately 20:05, live on Sky Sports this evening.

But Ben Ari’s group, D, shows that the overall stands of the lower-ranked players has been far better this year with fourth seed Andrew Rushton, who Baggaley defeated in last year’s semi-final, failing to progress.

Last year’s runner up and three-time winner Maxim Shmyrev has also been drawn against Israeli opposition in Isaak Abramov.

Alexander Flemming, who Baggaley beat for his first world championship success in 2015, faces a tricky task in Shmyrev’s Russian compatriot Dmitry Popov.

Christopher Doran, from nearby Northampton, is the only other Englishman to make the cut and open’s this evening’s session with a game against Slovakian Marcel Rabara.