Belarus and France beat the odds to move step closer to Japan
2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament
Led by inspiring performance of Viktoria PAVLOVICH and fantastic win of Nadezhda BOGDANOVA, Belarus made a thrilling comeback from 1-2 down to beat Team Singapore 3-2 in the opening round of the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament. In Gondomar France also beat the favorites – Russia to come one step closer to the Olympic tournament in Tokyo this summer.
Thailand’s duo Nanthana KOMWONG and Orawan PARANANG had a better start against Nadezhda BOGDANOVA and Daria TRIGOLOS, but Viktoria changed the path of the match by beating Suthasini SAWETTABUT. Nadezhda BOGDANOVA beat Suthasini SAWETTABUT 3-2 (11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 16-14) after Daria TRIGOLOS suffered in the third encounter of the match and PAVLOVICH beat Nanthana KOMWONG 3-0 (15-13, 11-9, 11-7) in the ultimate match of the duel to secure overall victory against no 15 seed. Belarus is seeded at the position no. 22.
In the next Round Belarus will have to meet the top seeds – Team of Hong Kong China. Similarly to Belarus, France also posted great win against better ranked Team of Russia and tomorrow they will meet no. two seeds Chinese Taipei.
Most dramatic duel in the match between no. 12 seeds Russia and no. 18 seeds France was five games thriller between Stephanie LOEUILETTE and Polina MIKHAILOVA 3-2 (11-6, 11-5, 13-15, 5-11, 11-7). YUAN Jia Nan and doubles LOEUILETTE and YUAN completed the win.
“It’s the first game, it’s strange, the pressure is here. We play against them a lot, against Mikhailova, we watched a video to prepare and we play our best. Against her (Mikhailova) it’s definitely difficult, because she attacks and defends a lot, it depends a lot more on her. We have to be focused and patient. We are playing Chinese Taipei, really good team, but we also have good doubles, we will try our best” said Andrey ZARIF.
Stephanie Loeuillette added: "In the third set Polina changed, she attacked more with forehand, and fourth set it was the same, so I said I had to change, receive short or attack on service because she has good forehand."
Team Netherlands secured a 3-0 overall win over Team Serbia, Poland overcame Nigeria, Ukraine beat Belgium.