by Simon Daish
China entered the event as the second seeds and so a certain amount of expectancy fell upon the shoulders on the squad to enjoy a successful campaign at the Championships. Now following the country’s 3-0 victory over Belgium in the last eight, China is guaranteed to take home a medal- at the very least- as there is not a play-off match for third position.
Seeded 10th, Belgium went into the encounter against China as the so-called underdogs, but the European side was not without confidence having picked up a fantastic win over the No.5 seeds Hong Kong in the previous round of the competition on day two.
Xu Haidong was the first player to take to the stage for China and a powerful display from the 16-year-old saw off Belgium’s Florian Cnudde in straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-5) before the Asian country took a 2-0 lead in the tie with Yu Heyi’s victory against Laurens Devos (11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
The Belgians were in trouble but knew that regardless of the result they had already pulled off a great achievement in reaching the top eight. Despite a brave effort from Thibaut Darcis in the third match it was China’s Xu Yingbin who prevailed (11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6) to put the No.2 seeds into the last four.
Awaiting China in the next round is Korea Republic after they too secured a 3-0 triumph in the quarter-finals.
The team of An Jaehyun, Cho Seungmin and Kim Daewoo had too much for opponents Romania as the Korean squad came through the tie with little difficulty; An Jaehyun gave Korea Republic the opening lead beating Cristian Pletea in four games (11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7), and Cho Seungmin’s 3-0 success against Rares Sipos put some daylight between the two countries.
However, the most exciting battle was yet to come as Korea Republic Kim Daewoo and Romania’s Alexandru Manole went head-to-head in an epic five game thriller: Kim Daewoo led Alexandru Manole 2-1 by the conclusion of the third end, but a wonderful 42 point game four fell to the Romanian contestant as a deciding fifth game was forced.
The momentum had shifted to Alexandru Manole with the capture of the previous game, yet it was Kim Daewoo who took the final end putting Korea Republic through to the next stage (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 20-22, 11-4) to seal a top four finish.
Japan and Chinese Taipei will contest the top half of the semi-finals draw as both nations safely negotiated their respective encounters in the morning session, with DPR Korea and France falling victim to 3-0 defeats.