Four team’s hard work and persistence paid off

Tokyo, May 3, 2014: England and Italy were successful in jumping up from the men’s second division to the Championship Division, while Brazil and Sweden will be joining the world’s best teams at the 2016 ITTF World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Team England’s Liam Pitchford was the key to England returning to the Championships division for the first time since 1997, after he won 8 out of his 9 matches.

After the match, the 20-year-old stated: “Obviously we are over the moon with the result, we had two tough matches today and thankfully it ended in our favour! We knew it had been a while since we had been in the top division and I hope it will be a major boost for us and that we can cause some surprises in two years’ time!”

In the Yoyogi Gymnasium, it was quarterfinal day for the Championship Division, as teams battled it out for a semifinal berth, which would guarantee them at least a bronze medal.

In the women’s team quarterfinals, hosts Japan were stretched all the way by a gallant Netherlands team in a match lasting over four hours and consisting 23 individual games. The 2 teams kept the home crowd on the edge of their seats, and huge cheers erupted after Japan emerged victorious 3-2, with ISHIKAWA Kasumi delivering the final blow to EERLAND Brit.

The Olympic teams silver medalist ISHIKAWA, who was in tears after the victory stated after: “I remember two years ago in our quarterfinal match when I had match points in the 5th game and I ended up losing the match, which knocked us out of the tournament. I am very emotional after this win today, but it is definitely the opposite emotion from two years ago.

Japan will now play Hong Kong in the semifinals tomorrow, which will be the hottest ticket in Tokyo.

The Singapore women’s team also earned a 3-1 victory over Romania. World number 7 FENG Tianwei and team mate YU Mengyu have both not yet dropped a match in this World Championships, maintaining their 10-win and 7-win streak respectively, led the team to a spot in the semifinal against China, who have not dropped a game all tournament.

The highlight of the men’s team quarterfinal was the 3-2 win by Chinese Taipei against Korea Republic. 5th seeded Chinese Taipei’s CHUANG Chih-Yuan came through for the team by clinching the crucial victory against JOO Saehyuk when the team was down 1-2.

On coming back from 0-2 games behind, CHUANG commented: “I didn’t just get better against JOO, but against defense in general. I had problems reading the spin before, but I’m getting better at reading it now. I think I made the same mistakes like the first time I played here against him. I was hurrying to finish the point.”

Chinese Taipei will meet top seed China, who advanced yesterday after defeating Austria 3-2.

In the other half of the draw, Germany scored an easy 3-0 victory against Singapore, and will be playing host nation Japan in the semifinals tomorrow in a rematch of the semifinal two years ago that Germany won 3-1. —- Photo by Remy Gros/ITTF

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