by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
It is an unprecedented situation in any sport where teams that have started a competition have merged but whilst perhaps not covered in any rule book, the decision met with universal approval.
The players selected to represent team which will be known officially as Korea is Cha Hyo Sim, Kim Nam Hae, Kim Song I, Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun.
At the semi-final stage Korea meets Japan; in the opposite half of the draw, China confronts Hong Kong.
Impressive quarter-final wins were the order of the day as China beat Austria by three matches to nil, the same score-line as was recorded by Japan in opposition to Ukraine and Hong Kong when facing Romania, the reigning European champions.
Meanwhile in the Men’s Team competition, the first round fixtures were completed; Japan recorded a three-nil win in opposition to Hong Kong but that was the only confrontation that did not require the full five games to determine the outcome.
Wins by Mattias Karlsson in opposition to Chuang Chih-Yuan (15-13, 11-7, 11-9) and Chen Chien-An (11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8) guided Sweden to success against Chinese Taipei.
Meanwhile, Austria recovered from a two matches to nil deficit against Portugal to record a three-two win with Robert Gardos the hero of the hour; in the concluding match of the fixture he beat Marcos Freitas (11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9).
A notable recovery but nothing matched that achieved for Gustavo Tsuboi for Brazil in opposition to Portugal. In the vital deciding match of the contest he recovered from the depths of despair in the third game against Tomislav Pucar (9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9) to secure Brazil a last eight place. Backbone of the Brazilian success was Hugo Calderano, he beat both Tomislav Pucar (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6) and Andrej Gacina (6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 7-11. 13-11)
Records need to be checked but is it not the first time a Latin American country has reached the quarter-final round of a World Championships Men’s Team event?
The last eight names decided, at the quarter-final stage Brazil meets Germany, Japan opposes Korea; in the opposite half of the draw Sweden plays England, Austria confronts China.