Table tennis: Perry pushes through

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Alex Perry, the England No 5, won two successive matches in straight games to qualify for the main draw of the men's singles at the World Championships in Manchester yesterday. The 21-year-old left-hander, who played for England in the men's team event earlier this week, beat Aldo De Leon, of Guatemala, 21-16, 21-14, 21-13, and then defeated Egypt's Sherif Diaa 21-17, 21-9, 21-18.

His second victory earned him the right to play the Russian Maxim Shymrov in the first round proper today. Perry said: "I have never played him before but I know it will be a very difficult match. He beat my England colleague Carl Prean in the team event."

Bethan Daunton, who won a bronze medal in the women's doubles at the Commonwealth tournament 10 days ago, also qualified for the main draw in the women's singles. She beat Finland's Katja Nieminen 21-15, 21-9, 22-20 in the final preliminary round and plays Diana Huang, of Canada, in the first round.

Two other Englishmen, Bradley Billington and Darren Blake, also won through to the men's singles main draw and so, too, did Ireland's Colum Slevin. He beat Dmitri Pereverzev, of Kazakhstan, 21-13, 21-13, 21-19 and Blake beat Dmitri's brother, Andrei, 21-19, 26-24, 21-9. Billington had a marathon struggle with Stephen Ward, of Wales, before winning 27-29, 21-18, 22- 24, 21-11, 22-20.

Nicola Deaton also qualified for the main draw when she beat Italy's Ding Yan 21-19, 21-19, 21-17.