World Championships

Slovakia rewrites the history books

Photo: Rémy Gros ITTF

Ranked only at the position no. 30 at the World Rankings, Slovakia reached the quarterfinal of the Women's Event at the 2022 ITTF World Team Championships Finals in Chengdu. Team of Portugal and Men’s team France joined Slovakia in next stage.

In the opening match in knock out phase on the six day of play in China, Slovakia overcame France. Barbora BALAZOVA lost to Prithika PAVADE, but prevailed in the fourth duel against YUAN Jia Nan

"To be honest, before the match, we were planning to give our best as we did. If someone told us that we will be in quarter finals before the whole competition, we will laugh obviously. It's huge for us like we make the history for our country and we are happy," said BALAZOVA.

Two teams have a history of encounters.

"Actually we played against France in every Championships. Four years ago we played twice against them, once we won and once we lost. Plus in the European qualifications we have them also in the group. Basically we will not to surprise when we saw the draw. On our minds they were favorites, but we did not want to go without the good fight. I lost my opening match very close, then Ema LOBOSOVA stepped up and won her match against YUAN and then Tatiana KUKULKOVA turned the course of the match…"

Against YUAN, BALAZOVA had match point in third game.

"At 10:6, I realized how close I am. I got "stiffed" and I lost that game. In next one I was game ball down at 9:10, but I prevailed," said BALAZOVA.

Germany needed also four matches to halt the progress of Puerto Rico. HAN Ying remains undefeated in the event and also is yet to drop a single game.

"I think Puerto Rico Women’s team is very good, they are young and they fight. They played till the last moment, which is really good match to watch," said HAN.

Hong Kong is through to the quarterfinals of the Women's Teams after defeating Romania in a thrilling 3-2 encounter. Team Singapore defeated Czech Republic 3-1.

France eliminated 2016 bronze medalists England for a spot in the Men’s Team quarterfinals. In previous occasions at the World Championships in Kuala Lumpur and at the Olympic Games in Rio it was England who celebrated.

World No.22 Liam PITCHFORD beat both Alexis and Felix LEBRUN, but Jules ROLAND and Alexis and Felix still managed to score against Sam WALKER and David MCBATH.

Jules ROLLAND overcame David MCBEATH 3-2: " We’re very happy here and we want to go very far, it’s not the finish yet. "

Team Portugal defeated Luxembourg 3-1 in the Women’s Team Round of 16. YU Fu gave Portugal dream start with the victory over NI Xia Lian 3-1.

"NI Xia Lian sometimes plays with long rubber, and sometimes she plays with short rubber. So, it made me we feel kind of strange, because of the pace or spin. If you don't practice in this kind of way, you might feel very strange. But I played with her few times before, so today was very confident, " said YU Fu.

Then SHAO Jieni overcame Sarah DE NUTTE 3-1.

"I would like to congratulate our whole team. We predicted that we're going to face some difficulties to play with Luxembourg, and we're fully prepared with the difficulties that we may face. I would like to say that we showed our nice shape and played well, " said Jieni.

Next in line is China.

"Chinese team is the NO.1 in the world, we just want to play our best, but we don't know what will happen in the next stage, “said Ines MATOS.