China Defends ITTF Team World Cup Titles in London
China has once again proved itself as the table tennis superpower, defending their Team World Cup title in dominating fashion in two epic China – Japan clashes at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup today, 25 February 2018 at the Coper Box Arena in London.
The Chinese women’s trio of DING Ning, LIU Shiwen and ZHU Yuling proved too strong for the Japanese young team of Kasumi ISHIKAWA, Mima ITO and Hina HAYATA in the Women’s Team Gold medal match, claiming their eighth consecutive title 3-0.
2017 Women’s Doubles World Champions DING Ning and LIU Shiwen faced 17-year-olds Mima ITO and Hina HAYATA in the first match of the day. Despite the Japanese putting up a good fight against the World Champions, it was the experienced Chinese pair who took a 3-1 (11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8,) victory to give China the first point lead.
World number two ZHU Yuling determined to giver China the 2-0 lead, dominated her match against Japan’s number one Kasumi ISHIKAWA, claiming a 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-7) victory. Returning back to the table from her doubles win, DING Ning ended matters quickly with Mima ITO in the third match, defeating the Japanese youngster 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8) to seal the deal for China.
After claiming the final victory for her team, DING Ning stated: “I am very happy that we won in this arena and I want to thank the fans here who cheered for us throughout the encounter.”
Then Chinese Men’s Team were determined to prove to the world they are still the best male table tennis nation on earth after they several losses late 2017 and their individual rankings taking a dive. Led by World and Olympic champion Ma Long, Team China dismantled Japan 3-0 in the final.
Japan who were making their first ever Team World Cup final appearance fought hard but were unable to stop the Chinese juggernaut from making a huge statement ahead of April’s World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden.
The eagerly anticipated final started off with MA Long and XU Xin defeating Jin UEDA and Koki NIWA 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-7) to get the ball rolling for China. The defending champions then showed no mercy as FAN Zhendong won the battle of former Junior World Champions against 14-year-old Tomokazu HARIMOTO 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-8).
Playing the Japanese sensation who is the youngest ever World Tour Champion, FAN Zhendong shared “This is the first time we play against each other, so I prepared very well prior to the games, and I ensure that I fought each for each point to win the match.”
MA Long ensured that China will lifted the cup for a ninth time by beating Koki NIWA 3-1 (11-8, 3-11, 11-5, 11-3).
The 2018 ITTF Team World Cup has seen 12 of the world’s best teams battle in four groups of three in the qualifications group stage in a round robin from 22-23 February, followed a knockout system by the winner and runners-up of each group until the Champions are determined today.
The 2018 ITTF Team World Cup tested the new playing system for the Olympic Team event that will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where the doubles match will be played first, followed by the singles matches. The benefit is that the best players are ensured to play against each other, as well as fans and media knowing all the five upcoming matches before the match starts, which was not the case with the previous system.
With the conclusion of the Team World Cup, the top players will focus on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour platinum, Qatar Open in Doha from 8-11 March 2018.