Germany, England, France and Romania in quartersPhoto: Rémy Gros
2018 ITTF Team World Cup
Germany, England and France booked their places in the quarter-finals of the Men’s event at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in the London’s Copper Box arena. In Women’s Event Romania is the only European team to play in the Round of 8.
England, the no.8 seeds succeeded against Egypt, the no.10 seeds. In the match against Egypt Sam WALKER partnered Paul DRINKHALL to success against El-Sayed LASHIN and Ahmed Ali SALAEH (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9). Later, WALKER accounted for Mohamed El-BEIALI (11-6, 11-8, 11-7), after Liam Pitchford had also beaten Mohamed El-BEIALI (11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 11-4) and Paul DRINKHALL had experienced defeat at the hands of in in-form Ahmed Ali SALEH (11-4, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6).
“There is nothing secret about my excitement at playing on big stage. I think my best performance has been on the big stage and I love big stage as well. I played against Mohamed El-BEIALI at the 2017 Belgium Open and I defeated him 4-0. His style of play is quite good for me because he loves rallying and I ensured I hit the ball before him and this really gave me the edge. People were expecting us to win and it was very important that we won 3-1. It was tough but we are happy that we are in the quarterfinal and we will be playing in our city, which is London. The fans have been very supportive and I hope they can continue to support us in the quarterfinal. I am so excited playing in front of the London fans as we look forward to the quarterfinal encounter later this evening, ” said WALKER. “I’m really excited to be in the quarter-finals in London, in our home country. The support today was great and hopefully it can be even better this evening. The match was tough because we were expected to win but they’re not an easy team to play. I always felt we had the upper hand and it was good to get a good start in the doubles and take the pressure off a bit.”
In the first match in the Group England lost against Japan.
“It’s great to get through in second place, which is enough. First would have been ideal, but we’ve not performed well enough yet to warrant that. We knew we were favorites against Egypt but they played a strong match, especially without their number one player, and tested us in every match. It was really good for Sam WALKER to play his first singles match of the tournament and get a win,” said Paul DRINKHALL.
Liam PITCHFORD praised Sam’s efforts.
“I’m obviously happy to get through the group and into the quarter-finals. We knew it was going to be a tough match. We found out Omar Assar wasn’t playing, which made it a little bit easier, but you can never underestimate them. They put in a good performance but we did a professional job. I’m happy for Sam to come in and play well, it’s not easy to play your first match in singles in that situation.”
Emmanuel LEBESSON was the back bone of French success against Sweden. LEBESSON partnered Alexandre Cassin to success, the pair accounting for Pär GERELL and Anton KÄLLBERG (11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3). Later with the match score level at two-all, he overcame Kristian KARLSSON (11-5, 11-3, 11-7). Quentin ROBINOT lost to Kristian KARLSSON (11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8) and Pär GERELL (9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7); the one further win was for France was recorded by Alexandre CASSIN against Anton KÄLLBERG in the third match of the fixture (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5).
In the quarterfinal England will meet Brazil, Germany will play against China, France against Republic Korea and Japan against Hong Kong.
Romania overcame Australia 3-0 in the Women's Group Stage to reach the quarters.
“We have played the opening match against Chinese Taipei. If we could have this match today for sure it would be another story, because it was very difficult to start the tournament with so strong team,” explained Elizabeta SAMARA.
Daniela MONTEIRO DODEAN added: “For a long period we didn’t practice, everyone has lots of club matches so we have no time to play together. Obviously, it was different goals for us to start team match with a double. Of course, we are little disappointed with a second place in the group because we will play with the strong team now - Hong Kong."