by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Qualifying from the group which included Germany and Australia, the Brazilians showed their class against the very best in Tokyo.
Facing Germany in the group opener on Wednesday 6th November was to prove a highly contested encounter. The pair of Eric Jouti and Gustavo Tsuboi caused Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska a host of problems in the doubles. The Germans were stretched the full distance (13-15, 12-14, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2).
The tie between Vitor Ishiy and Dimitrij Ovtcharov produced fireworks, with the German prevailing 3-1 (9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-8) to stretch the lead to 2-0. The third tie between Franziska and Jouti again showed the quality of the 23 year old Brazilian who fought from start to the end. However, Franziska knew the importance of the tie and he put the match beyond Jouti by winning 3-2 (12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9).
A place in the quarter-finals was reserved by overcoming Australia 3-0 to confirm their spot among the top eight. The good run was however halted by Korea Republic in the quarter-final as they were beaten 3-1. However, they did not lose to the Koreans without a fight as Eric Jouti – ranked no.85 in the world – humbled 18th ranked Korean star Lee Sangsu 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8) to again show his class.
Most satisfied Eric Jouti believes his performance in the competition has given him hope that he can compete against the best. If there is anything that the 23 year old took away from Tokyo, it was his new-found confidence having played and conquered some top players across the World Cup.
“I think I played really well in this competition especially against players that are higher than me in ranking. I was not under any pressure playing against them. I feel good and I think against Germany we had the chance to win but after losing the doubles, this really affected us. But against Korea, it was a bit difficult because they are very strong. I really prepared well for this tournament and I forced myself to give my best.” Eric Jouti
Furthermore, after overcoming the top ranked Korean star, Eric Jouti was vocal about the major impact it has had on him.
“Beating Lee Sangsu was a big win for me because he is rated higher than me and I was really excited with the way I played against him. We have again showed the world that we can compete against the best even with or without Hugo Calderano. Although, Calderano’s presence would have made a lot of different but we showed that without him, Brazil is still a strong team.” Eric Jouti
Like Eric Jouti, compatriot Vitor Ishiy believes their outing in Tokyo has confirmed Brazil as contender in global tournament:
“It was a good performance from us in this tournament and I am so happy that we showed our quality against the best teams in the world. Even in the absence of Calderano, we helped one another and this really showed in our performance. Calderano would have made a lot of difference in the team but we performed very particularly making it to the quarterfinal of the team World Cup was a big feat for us.” Vitor Ishiy