by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.7 on the current Men’s World Rankings, no Jeoung Youngsik in the Korean selection; Wong Chung Ting was the favourite to win both his matches, from somewhere Hong Kong had to find one more.
It appeared that such a success had arrived in the opening contest when Ho Kwan Kit saved one match point in the deciding fifth game against Lee Sangsu (7-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 12-10) to give Hong Kong the bonus they needed.
Furthermore, it seemed the theory was sound; Wong Chung Ting duly accounted for Jang Woojin (11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9) before Jeoung Sangeun started the rescue mission. He beat Jang Tianyi (11-9, 5-11, 11-2, 11-9).
Lee Sangsu returned to the table, against the odds he overcame Wong Chun Ting (12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7); not only did he beat the Hong Kong pen-holder, he changed the whole complexity of the fixture. The momentum was now with Korea.
“In the first match I was tense, my first match of the tournament; playing Wong Chun Ting I made fewer mistakes, I was able to attack his service”, Lee Sangsu
Jang Woojin, ready for the battle, laid the earlier defeat to rest. He accounted for Ho Kwan Kit in four games (11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7); Korea celebrated.
“I lost to Wong Chun Ting, he’s a top player, I thought Jeoung Sangeun had a chance to win and bring us back into the match; against Ho Kwan Kit I felt that the pressure was on him rather than me, so I was able to play freely”, Jang Woojin
Defeat for Hong Kong came after there had been notable success. One fixture earlier on the centre court, the outfit comprising Doo Hoi Kem, Lee Ho Ching and Minnie Soo Wai Yam had overcome Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, Tamolwan Khetkuen and Nanthana Komwong by three matches to nil.
Straight games successes on each occasion, Lee Ho Ching beat Suthasini Sawettabut (11-8, 12-10, 11-9), Doo Hoi Kem overcame Nanthana Komwong (11-4, 13-11, 11-6), before in a most impressive manner Minnie Soo Wai Yan brought matters to a conclusion. She overcame Tamolwan Khetkuen (11-3, 11-4, 11-4).
“I was well prepared, two years ago at the Asian Championships in Pattaya I won three-two; she is powerful but today I think I was faster than her.” Lee Ho Ching
“My service caused her problems; she could not read my services. I don’t think I played that well today, my biggest problem was that the ball does not bounce high, it comes through very low, not so much spin.” Doo Hoi Kem
“I was happy to play to her backhand but most important was that I was strong on the first three attacks.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam
The semi-finals of both the Men’s Team and Women’s Team events will be played on Tuesday 11th April.