Tokyo, May 2, 2014: The action is heating up at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships, with the knockout stage beginning on day five in Tokyo, Japan.
The capacity crowd at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium was shocked with a handful of upset results in the round-of-16 matches.
The biggest upset of the day came from the women’s teams round-of -16 encounter between Romania and Korea Republic. Third seeds Korea Republic, could not cope with the power and passion of their ninth seeded Romanian counterparts and lost 2-3 in the best match so far in the tournament.
Despite top Korean player, world number 8 SEO Hyowon, winning both her matches, the Romanian team stayed united and all three players won one match apiece. The win, which had all the girls in tears, puts them in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, where they will face Singapore tomorrow.
19-year-old Bernadette SZOCS who won the decisive match 3-2 stated: “It was really hard for me to play the last game. After I was up 5-0 in the last game I couldn’t move and couldn’t make a point, but after 5-5 I made one good backhand. After that point I had so much confidence, which was the key to me winning this vital match.”
14th seed Netherlands also stunned 7th seed Chinese Taipei with a 3-0 crushing victory, earning their place in the quarterfinals against host nation Japan, and providing a much-needed morale booster for the team.
It was business as usual for the other two round-of-16 matches. Korea DPR defeated Ukraine 3-0 and Germany accounted for Belarus 3-0.
In the Men’s Team Event, Portugal made history by making the quarterfinals for the first time after a hard fought 3-1 victory over Poland. However, their joy was short lived, as they were knocked out by host nation Japan 3-0 in their quarterfinals, played tonight.
The other quarterfinal was played between the number one seeds China and Austria, who booked their place in the quarterfinals by beating Greece earlier in the day.
World number one XU Xin stated after the match: “When ZHANG Jike lost the second set of his match (against Robert GARDOS), perhaps he wasn’t playing as fluently as he’d like to. But I still believe our team will be able to persevere and do better.”
Despite Austria’s Robert GARDOS having a match point against the World and Olympic Champion ZHANG Jike, the defending champions won the match 3-0 to book their place in the semi finals to be played on Sunday.
The other two quarterfinals tomorrow will be Chinese Taipei against Korea Republic and Germany against Singapore. —- ITTF
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