by ell conade Townsend
The smallest of margins
First up on day eight we have China playing DPR Korea. An unfortunate draw for DPR Korea. Forget the seedings, in any other quarter final they may well consider themselves favourites. However, it might just be an unfortunate draw for China. This quarterfinal match is a repeat of the 2015 World Team Cup final. China won 3-0 in Dubai, but only got over the line in the first two matches 3-2 — the smallest of margins. Reverse even one of these and we will have a serious match on our hands. DPR Korea have defenders in the team and will have the chance to wear China down. Will Li and Ding be suffering fatigue from their seven set finals encounter? Even if they are, they have world number one Liu Shiwen to pick up the slack. It’s a tough road ahead, but when DPR Korea show up on the world stage they are always full of surprises. This would be their biggest of all.
Flip a coin
Singapore and South Korea face off in the women’s team quarterfinals. Feng should win two, and really she needs to. If she doesn’t Singapore will be in trouble. This is a lot of pressure on the Singapore number one, and after a 4-0 loss against Fukuhara in the singles it may just be too much for her to handle. Will there be some strategy in the team lineup from South Korea? Don’t be surprised to see them mixing up their order to maximise their chance of getting the three matches needed for the win. Singapore have to start strong and not let their opponents build any momentum or confidence. If the match goes deep, South Korea may just well be favourites. Mark this off as a potential upset.
There was no medal for Germany in the singles. National pride is on the line and they will be hungry for a podium finish in the teams. Their first major obstacle is Chinese Taipei. Boll and Chuang were both knocked out of the singles by Quadri Aruna, otherwise they would have already met in Rio. With Dima and Boll, Germany will be favourites. But if either is off their game, Chuang will look to pounce on the opportunity and could take two. Chen Chien-An will have to step-up and be in better form than he showed in single’s, but is definitely a wildcard and may be the surprise packet of this match. He has proven on the World Tour he can win against the best. Doubles will be vital for both teams and Chinese Taipei may have a slight advantage here with a more established pair. This will be a classic clash of European and Asian styles — don’t miss it.
Match of the day
Portugal is up against Austria in the men’s event in the afternoon session on day eight. Recently these two nations have been the team powerhouses of Europe. Austria was European champions in 2015, while Portugal held the title in 2014. Austria in particular has been singled out by China as a potential threat to their gold medal. They are more unorthodox than their Portuguese counterparts and play a tactical brand of table tennis seemingly inherited from the genius Werner Schlager. Portugal will play clean, free flowing table tennis and hope to be technically stronger on the table. Both teams have exceptionally solid doubles combinations which may prove pivotal in deciding the outcome. This one is too close to call. Take note: when you watch be on the lookout for a trademark behind the back shot from Daniel Habesohn — he is bound to make the highlights reel.
To watch today’s play head over here to catch all the action from your local television rights holder.
You can also head this way for the full schedule and live results from today’s action.