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Changing Of The Guard

The second day of the World Championship of Ping Pong will go down in history as an event where reputations proved to be nothing more than a thing of the past. That the outcome of this year’s tournament was too unpredictable proved to be an understatement. As anyone could have foreseen the big names cruised easily though to the last 16. Meaning the second day would be about spectaculair table-tennis and nerve-wrecking moments for the big favorites not knowing what awaited them.

The first tho matches of the second day were symbolic for how this day would turn out to be stunning for the big names. England’s own Chris Doran felt quite easy during his opening match on Sunday and beat Esposo 2-0. But then the Scot Gavin Rumgay had to play Spanish outsider Duran. Entering with his kilt he felt quite secure but during the match he was gasping for air and it was the Spaniard Duran who kept the pressure on Rumgay throughout the match. The Scot was back to his old tricks again hoping to come on top fighting.

But Duran was able to maintain his high level and left the crowd in disbelieve while beating the Scot 2-1. This proved to be the start of unbelievable scenes in Ally Pally and giving the crowd what they come for to see. The three times winner, Russian Maxim Smyrnev, faced the Chinese Yan Weihao. After shockingly losing the first set, he knew he had to fight for it and it was game on. As the score reached 14-14 in the second you could hear the crowd whispering, not believing what was about to happen. The elimination of Smyrnev was just one point away but somehow he was able to win the second. In the third it was all about Yan who left Smyrnev in disbelieve and stunned everyone by winning the third and therefore eliminated the Russian.

The third match saw Spanish Monzo dominating Groenewold from The Netherlands. Winning quite easily 2-0. The match that everyone was looking forward to was the match between two times winner Englands’ own Andrew Baggaley and Lubo Pistej from Slovakia. The Slovakian won the first set and in doing so gave Baggaley the feeling he had to fight for it. The winner of 2015 and 2016 showed why he won those editions and won the second. Both players showed some quality tabletennis and even though Baggaley lost to the Slovakian player, Pistej is always one of outsiders for winning the title. One way or another a big name would have been eliminated.

The German Alexander Flemming and Gonzales from the Philippines both won their match and reached the last eight. These players faced each other in the last eight and it was the German who won. England’s own Chris Doran faced Duran from Spain. Duran, who beat Rumgay showed his skills and there was a real fight between these two players. The first set proved to be decisive for the match. Duran kept Doran under pressure throughout the match but Doran wasn’t going to give up that easily. With the score reaching 14-14, the Brit missed a seemingly easy ball and lost the set. In the second it was all over. Duran won 2-1.

Lubo Pistej beat Russian Kutsenko and Yan struggled against Monzo, but won 2-1. The semifinal proved to be quite something for the crowd. Both matches went all the way and showed some high quality stuff. Eventually the German Alexander Flemming and Chinese Yan reached the final, meaning the German would play his second final. Flemming won the first set but then suffered from some cramps and the Chinese was able to turn up his level and secure his first title win in Ally Pally.

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