by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressive from England, it was the same from Japan, a three-nil success was recorded.
Notably, Kenta Matsudaira was preferred to Koki Niwa who the previous evening had been on duty in the defeat against England. Tomokazu Harimoto and Jun Mizutani retained their places against a Chinese Taipei outfit comprising Chuang Chih-Yuan, Chen Chien-An and Lin Yun-Ju.
Imposing performances, in the one remaining fixtures in the group it was very different. Belgium beat Belarus by three matches to two.
One wondered if Jean-Michel Saive may line up for Belgium and thus possibly face Vladimir Samsonov in a contest between the two players who have made the most appearances in a World Championships. Including Halmstad it is 25 appearances for Jean-Michel Saive, it is 22 in number for Vladimir Samsonov.
The clash was not to happen; Jean-Michel Saive sat on the bench, Robin Devos, Florent Lambiet and Cédric Nuythinck took to the stage; for Belarus Pavel Platonov and Aliaksandr Khanin lined up alongside Vladimir Samsonov, the 42 year old emerging his nation’s one winner. He beat both Florent Lambiet (11-5, 11-8, 18-16) and Cédric Nuytinck (11-5, 11-7, 11-4).
Defeat for Belarus means that progress to the main draw is a distant hope, for Belgium hope remains; they are in third place alongside Chinese Taipei with England and Japan occupying the respective top two positions.
In the concluding group contests, Japan meets Singapore, Chinese Taipei meets Belarus, England confronts Belgium.
Standings (after four matches): England 8pts, Japan 7pts, Chinese Taipei 6pts, Belgium 6pts, Belarus 5pts, Singapore 4pts (one point is awarded for presence, one for a win).