Tough opening for the hosts in the Copper Box arena in LondonPhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
2018 ITTF World Team Cup
Despite great effort in the Copper Box arena in London, England failed to record the win against Hong Kong in their opening group stage match in the Women’s event at the 2018 ITTF World Team Cup. They lost 3:0
DOO Hoi Kem and LEE Ho Ching beat Kelly SIBLEY and Maria TSAPTSINOS in the doubles contest (11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7), before DOO Hoi Kem doubled the advantage by overcoming Tin-Tin HO (11-3, 11-8, 14-12). Matters concluded with MINNIE Soo Wai Yam; she overcame Kelly SIBLEY (11-3, 11-3, 11-3).
“I am happy to play at the home arena. It was a good atmosphere in the venue. Hong Kong is the no.3 at the World Rankings now. It was the very difficult match for us. The girls did everything they could. So I can not be unhappy with that performance, considering the level of opponents,” said coach Marcus CUSTAFSON.
It was from Hong Kong a most competent and professional performance; for LEE Ho Ching it was her third appearance in the tournament, for DOO Hoi Kem the second, for MINNIE Soo Wai Yam she was on debut.
“I really enjoyed the support of the fans and this really boosted our confidence. It is always hard to play against a strong team. I am just grateful that I was able to give my best. I want to continue to play well and hope that I can cause an upset in the tournament. Also this competition affords us the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world.” Said Tin Tin HO.
In Men’s event, Germany, the no.3 seeds, beat Australia by three matches to nil. Ruwen FILUS and Patrick FRANZISKA combined to overcome David POWELL and Kane TOWNSEND (12-10, 11-5, 11-1); Dimitrij OVTCHAROV accounted for Heming HU to extend the lead (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4), prior to Patrick FRANZISKA defeating Kane TOWNSEND (11-6, 11-6, 11-6) to close the curtain.
Sweden suffered defeat by the hands of China’s players. Previously China beat France.
“But it was very difficult playing against XU Xin and he got a lot of points from the rallies. I had to be so aggressive in my service and return and this made the game very difficult for him. The last match against France is very important to us being the deciding game that will determine the second team that will progress from the group. We are fully prepared for it and we hope we can do our best to win and advance to the quarterfinal. I think this tournament is a good preparation for us and every team going to the World Championship in April because it gives us the opportunity to play against the best. It is like a min World Championship,” said Anton KALLBERG (SWE).
Unfortunately for hosts, England lost their encounter against Japan in Men’s Event. Liam PITCHFORD explained what happened after losing 1-3.
“The win against Harimoto TAMAKAZU was very important to us and in the next game, Paul had the chance to win if he had won the third set. And playing against Koki NIWA was never easy. I was very confident going into the match and I was leading 7-2 in the first but I lost it. I think the opening game win gave Niwa the needed confidence in the match. Also I did not return very well because I felt I had the chance to win. The final group match against Egypt is massive because whoever wins advance to the quarterfinal. Omar ASSAR is a good player and they have a strong doubles and what we just need to do is go and sleep and focus on the encounter against Egypt tomorrow.”