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WTTC 2008: Medals Reserved, Colour Unknown

China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan; the top four seeds booked their places in the semi-finals of the womenís event at the Evergrande World Team Championships in Guangzhou on Thursday 28th February 2008.

The Chinese trio of Zhang Yining, Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia overcame the teenage Romanian team of Elizabeta Samara, Daniela Dodean and Cristina Hirici by three matches to nil; a score line that was also posted by Singapore and Japan.

Undoubtedly one of the teams to impress in Guangzhou, the Japanese trio of Ai Fukuhara, Sayaka Hirano and Haruna Fukuoka gave a thoroughly professional performance to beat the Hungarian team of Krisztina Toth, Georgina Pota and Petra Lovas.

Meanwhile, for the Singaporeans matters came to an unexpected and unfortunate end against the Netherlands. Li Jia Wei beat Elena Timina and Feng Tianwei overcame Li Jiao to give Singapore a two-nil lead, then for the latter disaster struck. Early into the opening game against Wang Yue Gu, Li Jie twisted her ankle and could not continue. Wang Yue Gu without raising too much perspiration had secured victory for Singapore.

Comfortable victories for China, Singapore and Japan at the semi-final stage but not for Hong Kong; they were given a real fright by Austria. The latterís Liu Jia beat Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana but a vital third win proved elusive for the European team. Lin Ling overcame Veronika Heine whilst both Tie Yana and Jiang Huajun accounted for Li Qiangbing.

Menís Team Event
Meanwhile, in the Menís Team event China, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan emerged in first place in the respective groups on the conclusion of the first stage matches.

China ended their programme with Ma Lin, Wang Hao and Wang Liqin recording a three-nil win over the Italians, Yang Min, Mihai Bobocica and Mattia Crottia whilst Korea, fielding a trio of Kim Jung Hoon, Lee Jung Woo and Lee Jin Kwon, secured a three-one success over the Hungarians Daniel Zwickl, Janos Jakab and Ferenc Paszy. The one success for the latter came from Daniel Zwickl in the opening encounter against Kim Jung Hoon.

A three-one success for China and the same for the Japanese threesome of Seiya Kishikawa, Kan Yo and Hidetoshi Oya; they defeated Serbians Slobodan Grujic, Aleksandar Karakasevic and Zsolt Pete by three matches to one with the one Japanese reverse being the defeat of Hidetoshi Oya by Zsolt Pete.

Comparatively comfortable passages for China, Korea and Japan but not for Hong Kong; they trailed Belarus by two matches to nil before recovering. Vitaly Nekhvedovich and Vladimir Samsonov beat Tang Peng and Li Ching respectively to put Belarus two-nil ahead but they enjoyed no more successes. Ko Lai Chak defeated Evgueni Chtchetinnine, Tang Peng won a thrilling duel against Vladimir Samsonov and Li Ching completed the recovery with victory over Vitaly Nekhvedovich.

The four group winners therefore progressed directly to the quarter-finals, with the teams finishing in second and third places being required to play in round one in the evening session of play.

Tension filled the air with hard fought matches being the order of the day as the Czech Republic succeeded against Singapore whilst Romania beat Russia, Chinese Taipei accounted for Denmark and Germany prevailed in opposition to Austria.

In the quarter-finals China plays the Czech Republic, Hong Kong meets Romania, Japan confronts Chinese Taipei and Korea opposes Germany.

ITTF Press Release

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