23 Feb 2018

Thursday 22nd February marked the opening of the 2018 ITTF-Team World Cup in the English capital of London and spectators at the Copperbox Arena were treated to an excellent day of table tennis, featuring standout performances and a couple of notable upsets.

Here’s a look back at how the first day of play unfolded.

by Simon Daish

One of the eye-catching results of the day came in the evening session of the Men’s Team competition as Brazil registered a shock 3-2 win against Hong Kong: Hugo Calderano starred for the Pan-American champions, earning victories over Wong Chun Ting (12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 11-4) and Lam Siu Hang (11-7, 11-7, 11-5) with Gustavo Tsuboi also contributing a win against Ho Kwan Kit (13-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8).

“Wong Chun Ting, ranked seventh in the world, he’s a great player but today maybe he was not at his best; the last match against Lam Siu Hang, at two-two anything can happen but before the match I felt confident. It’s great for Brazil, we have a big chance now to finish in first place in the group; we beat Hong Kong, one of the strongest countries in the world!” Hugo Calderano

In the same group, Wong Chun Ting also lost out to USA star Kanak Jha in the morning session (8-11, 10-12, 8-11) but overall Hong Kong came out on top against the North American side.

Another upset saw Team Germany lose their grip on Group C, following a defeat to Korea Republic.

Confidence was high in the German camp after the no.3 seeds breezed past Australia in the opening round of group matches, but with Patrick Franziska and Benedikt Duda losing out to Jeong Sangeun (11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 7-11) and Lee Sangsu (11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4) coming off the back of a doubles win for Korea it was a disappointing end to the day for the European champions.


Despite being placed in a difficult group alongside France and Sweden, it was a perfect day at the office for the Chinese men’s squad. Spectators were also treated to a fantastic display from England including a magnificent clean sweep win for Liam Pitchford against Tomokazu Harimoto (13-11, 11-8, 11-5), but it was Japan who came away with a 3-1 victory to top Group B.

“The win against Tomokazu Harimoto was very important to us and in the next game, Paul had a chance to win if he had won the third game. Playing against Koki Niwa is never easy. I was very confidence going into the match and I was leading 7-2 in the first and I lost. I think the first game win gave Niwa the needed confidence in the match. Also I did not return service very well…” Liam Pitchford

Doo Hoi Kem leads Hong Kong to victory (Photo: Rémy Gros)

No. 3 seeds Hong Kong impressed on day one of the Women’s Team event, claiming a strong 3-0 win over the host nation England prior to a 3-1 success against Singapore and subsequently sealing first position in Group C.

The partnership of Soo Wai Yam Minnie and Lee Ho Ching prevailed against Yu Mengyu and Feng Tianwei (5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9) before Doo Hoi Kem defeated Yee Herng Hwee (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 11-4) to extend Hong Kong’s advantage. Feng Tianwei managed to reduce the deficit for Singapore but a second win for Doo Hoi Kem gave Hong Kong the victory.

“The win against Singapore was very important to us because we knew that if we finished first in the group, we will face a weaker team in the quarter-final… Our target is to make it to the semi-final but we would like to go farther than that. We will continue to give our best in all the matches.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam

Over in Group D it was Chinese Taipei who took the plaudits; emerging successful in the doubles the fourth seeded team took the early lead only for Romania to make the perfect response through 22-year-old star Bernadette Szocs who stunned Cheng I-Ching across three games (11-5, 11-5, 11-9). Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching then stepped up to defeat Elizabeta Samara (11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4) and Daniela Monteiro Dodean (11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8) respectively to complete the win for Chinese Taipei.


Group A has been topped by Japan, after the no.1 seeds achieved back-to-back wins against the United States of America and Egypt on day one. Defending champions China pulled off a fine 3-0 victory over DPR Korea in a repeat of the 2015 Women’s Team final, before a comfortable outing against Brazil guaranteed a quarter-finals spot for the top seeds.

More Information

World Cup 2018 ITTF Team World Cup Hugo Calderano Liam Pitchford Bernadette Szocs Kanak Jha Doo Hoi Kem

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Team World Cup