by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Competing in Group B; represented by Ganna Gaponova, Margaryta Pesotska and Tetyana Bilenko, Ukraine recorded a three-nil win against the Egyptian trio formed by Dina Meshref, Reem El-Eraky and Galila Nasser.
“I must admit that it has not been easy playing in the Championship Division being our first time. All the teams are very strong and we really tried our best to ensure we were not disgraced. We will continue to fight to ensure we won’t drop to the Second Division; this is our immediate goal now having lost four matches. Both men and women teams will not give up at ensuring that we remain in the elite division.” Dina Meshref
Meanwhile, in the same group, Hungary beat the United States by three matches to two; the backbone of the success being Dora Madarasz. In the opening match of the fixture she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Lily Zhang (2-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9), before in the crucial fifth and deciding contest accounting for Wu Yue (11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9).
In the corresponding fixture in the group, the contest between the hitherto unbeaten teams, Japan with Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano on duty recorded a three matches to nil win in opposition to the Austrian combination of Sofia Polcanova, Liu Jia and Petrissa Solja.
One fixture remaining for each team; Japan meets the United States, Austria faces Egypt but it is the contest between Hungary and Ukraine that attracts the attention. It is the fixture which will undoubtedly decide third place and progress to the main draw.
Standings (after four matches): Japan 8pts, Austria 7pts, Hungary 6pts, Ukraine 6pts United States 5pts, Egypt 4pts (one point is awarded for presence, one for a win).