Liam Pitchford got off to a winning start at the WTT Contender Almaty with a four-game victory over Lilian Bardet of France.
Pitchford led through most of the first game, but had to save a game point before taking it 12-10 against an opponent ranked No 101 in the world.
When Bardet hit back to take the second, it looked well poised, but Pitchford stepped on the gas in the third game, taking a 6-1 lead and seeing it out on a second game point. He was never behind in the fourth and pulled away with four successive points from 7-7 to complete the victory.
He will face third seed Darko Jorgic (WR 11) of Slovenia in the last 16. The match is at 2.20pm UK time on Friday on Table 2 – watch on the WTT YouTube channel.
Round of 32
Liam Pitchford bt Lilian Bardet (FRA) 3-1 (12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7)