World Championships | 24 Feb 2024

France reached the final at the World Championships, ending almost three decades of drought

Photo: WTT

Team France battled against Chinese Taipei to advance to their first Men's Teams final at the ITTF World Team Championships since 1997. France secured a 3-1 win to defeat their opponents and advance to tomorrow night's final against China.

The semifinal battle began with a duel between 42-year-old Chuang Chih-Yuan, who clinched the bronze medal at the 2014 World Championship, and 17-year-old World No. 6, Felix LEBRUN. LEBRUN lost only the opening game before winning the match 3-1 (5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6) to give France a dream start. Felix also sealed the match with a victory over LIN Yun-Ju 3-0 (11-7, 12-10, 11-8). Felix remains undefeated in Busan, winning all 8 matches.

“I feel amazing. It's been an amazing week for us, and we played the semifinal quite well. I’m just super happy,” Felix expressed his excitement.

His focus was already on the final. “For tomorrow's match, we will just focus on the tactics and on the match. Just enjoy the match. And don't think about who the guy in front of me is. So, yes, we will just think like this and try to play harder. We will enjoy a little bit tonight, go to the restaurant maybe. And after that, we will watch a video of our match against China, and we will try to win this match. But we know China is a tough team, but we will try our maximum,” said Felix.

His brother Alexis lost to LIN Yun-Ju 0-3 (10-12, 10-12, 5-11).

“I'm happy about the team's performance. We played a good match, but it was a little bit difficult to finish. I'm very happy about the team. I feel we are a very dangerous team because we all play at a very good level during this tournament. So, I have good hope for tomorrow, and we will fight, and we will try to win. I don't know against who I will play, but if I play against Zhendong, I will see the match, and I will try to play differently and try to change some details to surprise him. And I will just try to have fun at the table and play my best level,” said Alexis LEBRUN.

Simon GAUZY overcame KAO Cheng-Jui in straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-6) to add his 6th win to his record in 7 matches.

“It's just an outstanding feeling. And I have to say, I had tears in my eyes. I am really happy about our team's performance today. Felix and Alexis played a great match. I played also a great game, and I'm just really happy to be in the final. China have definitely been the best team in the world for 20 or more years. But we don't want to go in as victims. We definitely have small chances, of course, but we will try to take our opportunities and make a great match,” stated GAUZY.

The last time Team France made the final of the World Team Championships was at the 1997 edition of the event in Manchester, England. There, they walked away with the silver medal, losing to China 3-1.