Koki Niwa, the hero of the hour
Photo By: Rémy Gros
LIEBHERR 2012 World Team Table Tennis Championships
Victories for Belarus and Japan in the Men’s events on the morning of Wednesday 28th March 2012 at the LIEBHERR World Team Championships in Dortmund, gave both countries a massive boost in their bid for a top three finish in their group and thus the opportunity to compete for a top 12 place in the second stage of proceedings.
Four teams – Belarus, Japan, Russia, Poland – concluded the third day of play level in first place in Group D, each team had two wins and one defeat to their credit.
Video Interview: Yoshihito Miyazaki
On the morning of the fourth day, Yoshihito Miyazaki, the Japanese coach guided his team to victory over Russia; as did Alexander Petkevitch for Belarus against Poland.
Koki Niwa Stars
Japan posted a three-nil win over Russia but it was a hard fought three-nil success with Koki Niwa the hero of the hour; he saved three match points in the deciding fifth game against Alexey Smirnov (8-11, 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 15-13), to give Japan a two-nil lead after Jun Mizutani had given the Land of the Rising Sun the perfect start by overcoming Alexandar Shibaev (11-8, 11-7, 14-12).
Matters came to a conclusion thanks to the efforts of Kenji Matsudaira who accounted for Kirill Skachkov in five games but in one of the strangest five games duels imaginable.
In the decisive fifth game, Kenji Matsudaira won the first ten points before the Russian eventually enjoyed a success. Kenji Matsudaira won 15-13, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3.
Meanwhile in the contest between Belarus and Poland, the trio comprising Evgueni Chtchetinine, Vladimir Samsonov and Pavel Platonov proved irrepressible; a three matches to nil success being the order of the day.
Evgueni Chtchetinine gave Belarus the perfect start by beating Jakub Kosowski (11-9, 11-7, 11-9), Vladimir Samsonov followed with victory over Wang Zeng Yi (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2) with Pavel Platonov defeating Daniel Gorak to conclude matters (5-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9).
Croatian Hopes Alive
In the one remaining match to be played in Group D on the morning of the fourth day of play, Croatia (Tomoslav Kolarek, Andrej Gacina, Tomislav Zubcic) overcame the Slovak Republic (Thomas Keinath, Michal Bradon, Peter Sereda) by three matches to nil to keep their hopes of a top 12 finish alive.
Japan and Belarus lead the group with seven points, Russia, Croatia and Poland share second place with six points; the Slovak Republic has four points.