China stays unbeaten, tough battle for Sweden and Germany at Busan table tennis worlds

February 18, 2024
Updated 2024/02/18 at 7:53 PM
5 Min Read

BUSAN, South Korea, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — China racked up its third consecutive victory in both men’s and women’s events, while Sweden and Germany went through full-set thrillers to keep their campaign rolling at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals on Sunday.

In the men’s event, China’s top male player Fan Zhendong faced only slight resistance from Bence Majoros in the opening match, securing an 11-7 win in the first game before dominating with 11-4, 11-5 victories.

Liang Jingkun powered China to a two-set lead after getting past Tamas Lakatos 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.

Lin Gaoyuan, playing his first match in Busan, initially lost the lead to Adam Szudi 12-10, but rebounded to win 11-6, 11-2, 11-7, ensuring the defending champions completed their mission.

Sweden and Germany both faced tough challenges, pushing through to maintain their unbeaten records in the men’s category.

Anton Kallberg clinched the decisive victory for Sweden against Hong Kong, China, with a 3-2 scoreline, and Dimitrij Ovtcharov led Germany to a narrow win over Kazakhstan, also by 3-2.

“The most important thing was to win this match for team victory. Everybody won match and we did our job well,” commented Germany’s 10th-ranked penholder Qiu Dang.

World No. 9 Tomokazu Harimoto picked up two wins as Japan dispatched Chinese Taipei 3-1, while South Korea eased past Chile in straight sets. Felix and Alexis Lebrun led France to a 3-0 win against Austria for its third win in a row.

On the women’s side, Sun Yingsha reigned supreme in her rallies with Maria Xiao, the current highest-ranked player in Spain’s squad at world No. 60, triumphing 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 to earn China a quick lead.

Chen Meng rebounded from an 11-8 loss in the first game to come up trumps 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 against Sofia Zhang Xuan, putting the title-holder further ahead.

“When I led in the first game, my serve was not that good,” explained Chen. “But any situation during the game was within my preparation.”

Chen Xingtong emerged victorious 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 over Elvira Rad to close out China’s straight-set win.

“From a technical aspect, my performance was fine. After building a comfortable lead, sometimes I might want to play more aggressively, and the opponent also had some quality shots,” commented Chen Xingtong.

In a highly-anticipated duel on Table 1, South Korea took advantage of Jeon Ji-hee’s two points to outlast Puerto Rico 3-1, while the eighth-ranked home favorite Shin Yu-bin fell in straight games to Adriana Diaz, who sat three places behind her in the world rankings.

“It wasn’t much different from the games I played before. It feels like I wasn’t very creative with my plays. Although I’ve played against her before, it was not like she played extraordinarily different. She just prepared well,” explained Shin.

Jeon made up for Shin’s defeat as she swept Diaz 3-0 in the fourth set to bag another victory for the hosts.

“I lost to Adriana Diaz before, and she has a very high-ranking stat. Now that I’m going against stronger players, I am really into my competition mode,” commented Jeon.

Japan continued to show why they’re considered title contenders, dismantling South Africa with a combined scoreline that saw Miyuu Kihara, Miu Hirano, and Hina Hayata lose only 15 points across nine games.

Down 2-0 against Luxembourg, Bruna Alexandre led Brazil’s charge, getting the better of Tessy Gonderinger 3-1, before her teammates Bruna Takahashi and Giulia Takahashi also chipped in to turn the tide.

“We never give up if we’re down 2-0 or I’m down 2-0. We’re always trying to win and we’re very proud of ourselves,” said Bruna Takahashi. “Bruna [Alexandre] gave us one chance to come back and we’re very happy that we could use it.”

China looks forward to its final group matches on Monday, facing Croatia in the men’s event and Hungary in the women’s competition.

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