Having lost yesterday to Spain’s Oriol Monzo, Darius Knight had it all to do against Japanese player Yoshiyuki Kato but, by the skin of his teeth (and a few mathmatical calculations later) his excellent 4-2 victory was enough to confirm his place in the last 64.
Knight needed to beat Kato in six games or have it come back to a points countback if he won in seven.
In the end he achieved it in the six games that he needed to ensure his safe passage but only after sealing a nerve-wracking 19-17 sixth game.
The Londoner started in the right fashion – winning his first game 11-5 in a significantly better start than last time out against Monzo. Only the biggest occasion can spur the youngster into top gear and this was a big occasion indeed.
Although Kato levelled with a tight 13-11 game in the second, Knight was not fazed as he quickly re-established, and then built on, his lead with back-to-back games, 11-6 and 11-8.
With Kato’s fightback in the fifth – claiming a tight 11-9 game, it was left to Knight to win the sixth in order to be sure of progress. He did just that, but only just, after a mammoth 19-17 tussle.
He now plays another Japanese player in the form of Hiromitsu Kasahara at 3pm in the round of 64.
Knight will have his sole focus on this fixture after he lost his doubles match with Philipp Floritz (GER) to the Slovakian pair of He Bai and Kristian Kobes 3-1.
Men’s Qualifying Group 12:
Darius Knight bt Yoshiyuki Kato (JPN, u/r) 4-2 (11-5, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 19-17)
Bai/Kobes (SVK) bt Knight/Floritz (GER) 3-1 (12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4)