Douglas leads an encouraging assault

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The Independent Online
Desmond Douglas again defied the years as he won twice in a day to become one of three English players to reach the third round of the men's singles at the world championships in Tianjin, China, yesterday. Only two months short of his 40th birthday and in his first big tournament after five years' absence from international play, Douglas came from behind to win in five games against Michel Dubianski, of Poland, in the morning and recovered from dropping the first game to win in four against Vladimir Dvorak, of Ukraine, in the evening.

"I needed to get my range and rhythm and when I did I was okay," said the 11-times English champion after beating Dubianksi 17-21, 21-11, 26- 28, 21-15, 21-11 and Dvorak 18-21, 21-18, 21-18, 21-14. However Douglas will find it extremely difficult to progress further today when he plays the world No 9, Peter Karlsson, of Sweden.

Carl Prean, the national champion, and former world cup winner Chen Xinhua also won twice to reach the last 32 to make it England's best men's singles achievement at the worlds for six years. Prean beat Zoltan Varga, of Hungary, in straight games and recovered from a fourth-game deficit to win 21-17, 12-21, 17-21, 21-15, 21-8 against Qian Qianli, the Chinese- born Austrian.

Chen, beat Chu Kwo Sung of South Korea in straight games and then defended stoutly against the fierce flat hitting of Richard Vyborny of the Czech Republic.

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