Quarter-final places at stake in both the men’s team and women’s team events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; on the ninth day of action, Sunday 1st August, it was success for the most prominent outfits.
Notably, in both disciplines China and Chinese Taipei advanced; in the men’s team Korea Republic progressed but there was defeat for Hong Kong, in the women’s, Japan also reserved a last eight place.
In the men’s event, China, the top seeds, recorded an opening round win against Egypt, the no.13 seeds. Ma Long and Xu Xin, crowned world champions in 2011 in Rotterdam, gave China the perfect start, they beat Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh in straight games (11-4, 11-7, 11-3).
Fan Zhendong followed suit; he beat Omar Assar (11-4, 11-8, 11-5); Xu Xin overcame Khaled Assar to end the contest (11-9, 11-7, 11-2).
A comprehensive win for China, it was the same for Chinese Taipei, the no.7 seeds, in opposition to Croatia, the no.10 seeds.
Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan, the 2013 World champions gave Chinese Taipei the best possible start; they beat Andrej Gacina and Frane Kojic but needed the full five games (11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 14-16, 11-5).
Lin Yun-Ju overcame Tomislav Pucar in straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-8), Chuang Chih-Yuan accounted for Andrej Gacina to end matters (12-10, 11-3, 16-14).
Slovenia provides stern test
Few alarms, it was not quite the same for Korea Republic, the no.4 seeds; they recorded a 3-1 win against Slovenia, the no.12 seeds.
Jang Woojin beat both Darko Jorgic (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5) and Deni Kozul (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8). In the opening contest Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu accounted for Deni Kozul and Bojan Tokic (11-8, 11-8, 11-6). However, there was a surprise, in the third match of the fixture, Jeoung Youngsik was beaten by Bojan Tokic (9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10). On the current men’s world rankings Bojan Tokic is listed at no.66, Jeoung Youngsik at no.13.
Progress for China, Chinese Taipei and Korea Republic; not for Hong Kong, the no.11 seeds; they experienced defeat at the hands of France, the no.8 seeds.
Alexandre Cassin and Emmanuel Lebesson gave France the ideal start. They beat Ho Kwan Kit and Lam Sui Hang in the opening match (12-10, 11-8, 11-6). Simon Gauzy followed with success against Wong Chun Ting (11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9), before Emmanuel Lebesson overcame Ho Kwan Kit to conclude matters (12-10, 11-5, 11-4).
Meanwhile, in the women’s team event, China, the top seeds, opened their account with a 3-0 against Austria, the no.12 seeds.
Wang Manyu replaced an injured Liu Shiwen in the Chinese team. In her first ever match in the Olympic Games, she partnered Sun Yingsha to doubles success against Liu Jia and Liu Juan, the pair winning in straight games (11-4, 11-6, 11-4).
Later Wang Manyu overcame Liu Juan in a similar manner to conclude the fixture (11-2, 11-3, 11-3). Sandwiched in between Chen Meng accounted for Sofia Polcanova (11-3, 11-3, 11-6).
Similarly, Chinese Taipei, the no.5 seeds, recorded 3-0 win against the United States, the no.9 seeds, in what was a first ever match for Cheng Hsien-Tzu in an Olympic Games. It proved a most testing encounter.
Partnering Chen Szu-Yu, facing Liu Juan and Lily Zhang, they needed the full five games (11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Cheng I-Ching extended the lead by defeating Wang Huijing in emphatic style (11-5, 11-4, 11-4). Chen Szu-Yu defeated Liu Juan to seal the victory (11-13, 11-4, 16-14, 11-6).
Imposing; from Japan, the no.2 seeds, facing Hungary, the no.10 seeds, the victory was most emphatic.
Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa beat Maria Fazekas and Szandra Pergel in straight games (11-7, 11-7, 11-8); Mima Ito accounted for Dora Madarasz (11-2, 11-6, 11-6) to be followed by Miu Hirano who defeated Szandra Pergel (11-3, 11-5, 11-7) to firmly close the door.
Last eight places booked in style, for Hong Kong, the no.4 seeds, life was just slightly more exacting against Brazil, the no.15 seeds.
Caroline Kumahara won the one match for Brazil; against the odds she beat Lee Ho Ching (11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6). Currently, on the women’s world rankings, Caroline Kumahara stands at no.144, Lee Ho Ching (HKG) at no.45.
The success came after Lee Ho Ching and Minnie Soo Wai Yam had given Hong Kong the ideal start; they beat Caroline Kumahara and Jessica Yamada in straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-9).
Impressively, Doo Hoi Kem remained unbeaten. She accounted for Bruna Takahashi in the second match (11-3, 14-12, 11-7), before overcoming Jessica Yamada to end proceedings (11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10).
Also, through the quarter-finals in the men’s event are Brazil, the no.6 seeds and Germany, the no.2 seeds; in the women’s competition, likewise Germany, the no.3 seeds, have progressed alongside Romania, the no.8 seeds.
The remaining first round matches will be played on Monday 2nd August. In the men’s event, Japan, the no.3 seeds, oppose Australia; in the women’s Singapore, the no.6 seeds, face France, Korea Republic, the no.7 seeds, confront Poland, the no.11 seeds.
Play in the quarter-finals commences in the afternoon session of play.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF