by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Korea Republic, the no.3 seeds and Romania, the next in the pecking order, each experienced three matches to one defeats; Hong Kong, the no.6 seeds, proved the nemesis for the Koreans, for Romania, the stumbling block was France, the no.5 seeds.
Star of the show was undoubtedly Marie Migot, she accounted for both Andreea Dragoman (11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7) and Adina Diaconu (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7) to pave the way for a French victory. The one remaining success for the victors was secured in the third match of the fixture when Oceane Guisnel defeated Tania Plaian (15-13, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10).
The one win for the Romanians came courtesy of Adina Diaconu; in the opening match of the engagement, she overcame Audrey Zarif (11-6, 11-6, 11-7).
Meanwhile, for Hong Kong against Korea Republic, it was very much a team effort.
Minnie Soo Wai Yan suffered a five games defeat in the opening contest of the fixture when facing Kim Youjin (14-12, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6), a fine start for the Koreans but then the tide turned. Mak Tze Wing overcame Kim Jiho (11-6, 11-8, 11-7), before Liu Qi accounted for Kang Dayeon (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4) and Minnie Soo Wai Yam returned to the fray to conclude matters by beating Kim Jiho (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
Defeats for the third and fourth seeds; not for the leading outfits; Japan and China asserted their authority on proceedings, both recorded three matches to nil wins.
Represented by Mima Ito, Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano; Japan, the top seeds, overcame the Chinese Taipei trio formed by ChenYing-Chen, Wu Yi-Hua and Tsai Yu-Chin.
Meanwhile, with Liu Weishan, Shi Xunyao and Sun Yizhen on duty, China proved too strong for the Russian combination of Maria Malanina, Maria Tailakova and Valeria Shcherbatykh. The one player to cause Asian opposition problems was Valeria Shcherbatykh. She won the first two games against Sun Yizhen before experiencing defeat (9-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3).
The results mean that Japan and China are assured of quarter-final places and will be in opposite halves of the draw. In order to determine second places, Chinese Taipei faces the United States; Brazil confronts Russia.
In the remaining groups the fate of Korea Republic rests on the duel between Hong Kong and Spain; for Romania, the duel between France and Serbia will determine the final order.
Teams finishing in first and second places in each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals.