Andrew Baggaley is the BetVictor World Champion of Ping Pong for a record-equalling third time after he defeated 2018 winner Wang Shibo 15-10, 12-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-6 in front of a packed crowd at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Baggaley, who had previously won the $20,000 title in 2015 and 2016, came through an incredibly tough draw which saw him play all three of the event’s other previous winners to lift the trophy. He was on the brink of tournament elimination in the quarter-finals, but survived Yan Weihao’s match point to come back and win the decisive third set emphatically 15-5.

The Englishman had already dispatched three-time World Champion Maxim Shmyrev in the last 16 and then in the semi-finals defeated China’s Chen Jie – the first woman to reach the final four of the tournament – 9-15 4-15.

In the best-of-five final Baggaley led at 1-0 and 2-1 but was twice pegged back before Wang ran out of steam in the decider and the 35-year-old stormed to his third World Championship title.

“Wang pushed me to the limits in the final but I am so happy,” said Baggaley. “He threw everything at me and I threw everything at him and in the end in the fifth set ran away with it a bit, but he is so solid and doesn’t miss – you can’t get it through him.

“It is the greatest of my wins, definitely. There are so many amazing players and to beat Maxim, who played very good all weekend, and the top Chinese players, it’s unbelievable and this is my biggest win for sure.

“It is the best atmosphere I have ever played in, it was unbelievable. It has been an amazing event and I am so delighted to have won it for a third time. It is a big achievement and I am thrilled.”

The BetVictor World Championship of Ping Pong is a throwback to the early days of table tennis and is catapulting ping pong into the big league and onto the international television stage. The game that fell out of favour with the advent of super-spin inducing rubber bats years ago is returning to the mainstream thanks to a potent mixture of speed, power and old-fashioned skill courtesy of the technology-free sandpaper bats.

The 2019 BetVictor World Championship of Ping Pong was broadcast live throughout on Sky Sports and networks around the world. Highlights of the event will be shown on Sky Sports from February 19.

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