ITTF World Team Cup kick starts 2015 in Dubai
The world’s best table tennis players have put away their suits and dresses from the ITTF Star Awards and picked up their rackets for the beginning of the 2015 ITTF World Team Cup starting today in Dubai. The biennial event invites the top 12 teams,
The world’s best table tennis players have put away their suits and dresses from the ITTF Star Awards and picked up their rackets for the beginning of the 2015 ITTF World Team Cup starting today in Dubai.
The biennial event invites the top 12 teams, which are made up of six continental teams who qualified as champions of their respective Continental Championships, an additional five teams who finished highest positions at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships, plus one team from the host nation United Arab Emirates.
Defending champions China are the favorites in both the men’s and women’s to retain the title, but world number one XU Xin is wary of the emerging Portuguese team: “Potentially, Portugal will be strong,” he said. “Germany had won the European Championships many times, but last year Portugal won so this means something has changed.”
China’s five-man squad consists of the top four players from the current world rankings, making them the front-runners in the event, but XU said the favorite’s tag comes with responsibility. “As long as you are playing on behalf of China, you are always under pressure,” he said. “We have won many times and could still feel the pressure not only in games, but also in our trainings. That makes us try harder to win the title.”
Along with Portugal, Egypt who made a fairytale run to the semi finals in 2013 will be looking for another strong performance along with Germany and Japan.
Newly crowned 2014 ITTF Female Table Tennis Star and world number one DING Ning will lead the Chinese women’s team’s quest for gold. This task will not be easy, with Singapore, Japan and Romania all vying to cause an upset.
The playing system at the World Team Cup is the same as the team event of the Olympic Games. Each team selects three players, that plays in two singles matches, then doubles, followed by reverse singles, with the first team to win three games winning the match.
The first stage of the competition is a round robin, with the 12 teams being split into four groups of three. The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout quarter finals.