England reaches semi-final in Copper BoxPhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
2018 ITTF Team World Cup
England beat Brazil to book their place in the semi-final stage of the Men’s event at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London’s Copper Box arena. They emerged successful by three matches to one with Liam PITCHFORD the backbone of victory as a minimal bronze medal was assured.
“I’m over the moon. I’ve been working smarter recently, with psychologists and one-to-one with the coaches, working on small things in my game that I needed to make the step up. It’s been up and down but now I feel I’m flourishing. I can’t really explain it, I’m just playing well and enjoying the moment. I’ve been under pressure in a couple of matches but managed to come through them – before, that wasn’t happening but now I’m stepping up. We’ve got to approach the semi-final against China the same way we would against anyone else. We put them under pressure at the Olympics and we weren’t that far away,” said Liam PITCHFORD.
PITCHFORD beat Hugo Calderano in three straight games (11-4, 11-6, 11-6), the win coming after Paul DRINKHALL and Sam WALKER had recovered from a two games to nil deficit in the opening doubles contest against Eric JOUTI and Gustavo TSUBOI (5-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).
Gustavo TSUBOI overcame Paul DRINKHALL (8-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-4, 11-6). Liam PITCHFORD on his second return to the table record a four games success (6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8).
“I’m just really happy, especially to do it here in London. Maybe the Team World Cup isn’t as big as the world championships of Olympics, but it’s a world medal and you’ve got to beat some good teams to get it – and we’ve done that again. Hopefully we’ll give a good performance tomorrow – we go into it with belief, ” Sam WALKER.
In the penultimate round China awaits.
“We’ve got to approach the semi-final against China the same way we would against anyone else. We put them under pressure at the Olympics and we weren’t that far away.” Liam PITCHFORD
Against Germany, FAN Zhendong and XU Xin combined to beat Benedikt DUDA and Patrick FRANZISKA (11-5, 11-6, 11-5); MA Long followed suit by overcoming Ruwen FILUS (11-9, 11-8, 11-8), before XU Xin closed the curtain. He overcame Benedikt DUDA (11-4, 11-9, 11-7).
“When we got the eighth seeding late on, it opened up the possibility of a medal, being number two in the group we’re expected to get to the quarter-finals. Then you’re waiting for the draw, and it was a good draw and we took advantage of that. Obviously now we’ve got China and what a great place to play them, in London, with a young team. Who knows what could happen?” asked DRINKHALL.