by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively, both outfits recorded three-nil successes.
Lee Sangsu gave Korea the ideal start against Japan, he beat Kenta Matsudaira in four games (11-3, 11-13, 11-5, 13-11), before by a similar margin Jang Woojin accounted for Koki Niwa (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5).
The momentum with Korea Republic, Jeoung Sangeun concluded matters in an even more emphatic manner. He beat Maharu Yoshimura in three straight games (11-4, 11-5, 11-9).
“Japan table tennis is strong, before this match we practised and prepared well, so I think this time we play very well. In final we play against China, I’ll be very happy if we win. We will play as well as possible and just have fun. Enjoy the match”, Lee Sangsu
Korea Republic in the fast lane; it was the same for China against Chinese Taipei.
Fan Zhendong, the master in the rallies, directed his attacking strokes relentlessly towards the body of the left handed Chen Chien-An; he was well aware that a major strength of the Chinese Taipei player was his lethal forehand top spin. The number of times Chen Chien-An was allowed to release his favoured stroke could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Fan Zhendong emerged successful in three straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-7).
Immediately following Ma Long overcame Liao Cheng-Ting by a similar margin (11-6, 11-5, 11-7); the scores not doing justice to 21 year old from Chinese Taipei who at the beginning of each game stood toe to toe with the Olympic and World champion. However, at the business end, there was only one winner.
Similar to Liao Cheng-Ting, Yang Heng-Wei is a cool customer; no excessive displays of emotion and he did cause Zhang Jike problems.
After losing the first and then winning the second, in the third game Yang Heng-Wei won the first four points. A possible upset, not so; to his great credit, Zhang Jike remained composed and without taking any risks lost just four further points to secure the game and then eventually the match (13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8).
I wonder if with no Chuang Chih-Yuan in the line-up for Chinese Taipei in Wuxi, both Liao Cheng-Ting and Yang Heng-Wei on duty; is there more than one eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
Could Liao Cheng-Ting and Yang Heng-Wei progress sufficiently to help a medal be secured in the Men’s Team event?
The final of the Men’s Team event is scheduled for 2.00pm (local time) on Wednesday 12th April; Wuxi is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.