Andrew Baggaley won the World Championship of Ping Pong for a record-breaking fourth time on Sunday after beating Alexander Flemming 3-2 in an incredible final at Alexandra Palace.
The Milton Keynes man had equalled Maxim Shmyrev’s record three titles last year and defended his title with a brilliant performance after an intense weekend.
For Flemming, it was his third final defeat in this event, having also come runner-up in 2015 and 2017.
The German drew first blood in the final, taking the opening set on a sudden death point. Baggaley, however, delivered a perfect response and levelled the match all by taking the second set 8-15.
Flemming regained the lead at the end of the third. Baggaley took his double-point Powerplay at 12-12 but could not make it count. ‘Flash’ moved to a 14-12 lead before his English opponent forced it to 14-14, only to lose the deciding point.
Defending champion Baggaley asserted his dominance in the fourth, winning it 15-8 to take the match to a fifth and deciding set, much to the delight of the sold-out Alexandra Palace crowd.
Fittingly, the deciding set went all the way. Baggaley was on the verge of victory at 14-11 but Flemming made him wait, taking the match to 14-14, before the defending champion sealed his historic victory.
“This was the hardest final to win and it supersedes all of the other ones,” said Baggaley.
“It is incredible, amazing, special. Thank you to everyone supporting me, to my brother, to everyone.