World Championships

Crucial clash in Group 6 between Portugal and Romania ended in favor of Portugal's team

The Group stage at the 2022 ITTF World Championships Finals in Chengdu reached Round 3 on the fourth day of the play in China. European champion Romania failed to find the way to halt the progress of Portugal in five close games in Women's Teams Event. Portugal reached the Round of 16.

In Women's Teams Group 6, YU Fu was the backbone of Portugal's success with two wins over Bernadette SZOCS and Elizabeta SAMARA. However, the foundation to the victory was set by SHAO Jieni in the opening match against SAMARA. Elizabeta had a match point, but failed to capitalize on the situation (11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 13-11). YU Fu widens the gap with the win over SZOCS. Adina DIACONU beat Ines MATOS and SZOCS overcame SHAO Jieni (6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5), before YU sealed the match with the victory over SAMARA.

"We were under severe pressure, because this was the match for the next stage. We passed the Group and now everything is easier. My teammates handle the pressure very well. It was amazing match to watch," said Ines.

Taipei lost to Sweden, but they retained their leading position in the Group. Romania is third and Sweden is fourth.

Germany beat Czech Republic 3-0 and concluded the Group stage at the top of the Group 5.

"No match is easy. So, we had to fight for every ball for every match. Now, we had achieved our goal that to be the first in the group. That's great. Now we are in the knock-out stage and we will continue," said Nina MITTELHAM who overcame Hana MATELOVA."I think our goal now would depend on the draw. I think our dream has come true as we are here. It will be fine even if we go back home in the next stage. "

France defeated Italy 3-0 in Group 3. Italy has 5 points and they concluded Group stage with two wins and two defeats. France has one point less and one match less. The leader is Hong Kong with three wins out of three matches.

Pauline CHASSELIN overcame Debora VIVARELLI in the third match: "I think the key to win is to keep fighting for every point. But it was a really difficult match because each game was very close. We tried to focus on the tactics. And the most important thing is to keep focus and fight every point."

In the Men's Event in Group 7, Croatia and Belgium fought for the top spot at the standings in Group of four. Despite the dream start and Cedric NUYTINCK's win over Andrej GACINA 11-9 in the deciding game in the opening match, the pendulum swung to the other side immediately from the second match. Zeljko FILIP won both his encounters and Tomislav PUCAR added third point to the scoreboard.

 “We discussed about the strategy yesterday. After the match against Chinese Taipei, the coach decided to put me and Tomislav one and two, Filip number three. But in the morning when he woke up he changed his mind. It was Filip to play as number one. And this was a really good decision and he was playing really well today and won both his matches. We all did our best and luckily we managed to win,” said GACINA." I think it doesn't mean a lot for finishing first in the group. Actually, because there are some really strong teams that lost in the group stage already. So there are some teams can come to us also in the last 16 teams. So we are happy that we are from our winning street, but now in my mind is just to relax, take our time and see the point to be.”

Team Germany defeated France 3-1 with QIU Dang beating Felix LEBRUN in the opening match.

"It was my first time to play against Felix, and it's not often that two penhold grips playing against each other. For me, I was quite focused. I prepared myself well against him, because I know he had very good previous results. And I think I went technically and mentally very strong to the game. I'm happy to get that win at the end," said Qiu Dang.

Duda BENEDIKT lost to Alexis LEBRUN: "It's a very important match for us tomorrow, we'll play against Uzbekistan. We want to win. We have to win this match. At the end, we will see the matches between France against India tomorrow. Thus, we will see at which position we will finish with us."

LEBRUN Alexis:"I think they played amazing and Kay STUMPER made a very good match against Emmanuel. We can play better, but they play well. It was very difficult today. I don't think the penhold grip is an advantage because there were so many differences. Today it was very hard for me, because I played very bad in this match. I think he's a very good player in different style than Felix. We will take time to forget this match and think about tomorrow. We will continue to try to attain the first or second place of the group."

Belgium secured second position.

"Being in the last 16 teams is not bad, but it's always better to win the group and then we will have another chance in the next stage. Now, it would be tougher, but it's okay. There are some surprises in other groups, for the last 16’s draw if we don't take China, we'll be happy. Sweden is also a strong team; they are very good players and they're very dangerous," said Cedric NUYTINCK.

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