Defending champion Andrew Baggaley overcame a tricky second match to qualify for the last 32 of the Ping Pong World Championships.
Baggaley opened the evening’s entertainment with a comfortable 15-7 15-2 win over Belgium’s Jacques Pietquin.
This set up a last 32 qualifier against Spain’s left handed Oriol Monzo, a good friend of over 10 years of Andy’s.
The 32 year old thought he’d have a tough game against one of his training partners and that is exactly what he got as neither player took control in the first game.
Baggaley, however, found that bit extra to push him over the line as Monzo missed a couple of shots to give the Milton Keynes player the first game 15-8.
Monzo started the second game on fire however and raced into a 6-0 lead, which, despite Baggaley upping his game, he could not overcome, eventually losing it 15-11.
Baggaley composed himself in the third leg to comfortably win in the end 15-5.
The Milton Keynes player said: “It’s always harder when you’re playing someone you’ve known and been friends with for 10 years.
He’s stayed at my house before as well but I’m glad it’s done and I’m through to the next round.”
Baggaley will now play Slovakian Adam Brat in the last 32 round.
Brat beat Regelio Ponte 2-0 in his first game but lost to Northampton’s Chris Doran, who also qualified with two straight wins, in his second.
He overcame Stefan Kostandinovic 2-0 in his final chance game however to progress.
Baggaley hopes that playing his left handed friend Monzo in the group stages will help him with his next match.
“Playing Oriol (Monzo) was tough but I think it’s worked out well with Brat being a left hander too.”
“It’s good to get the feel of a left hander early on, I’m feeling sharp and looking forward to the next match.”