24 Jan 2020

Eight places decided for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the men's team event at the ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in Gondomar, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia emerged the surprise names; Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei, Sweden, France and Portugal progressed as status expected.

In the women's event, it was success as predicted. Hong Kong China, Chinese Taipei, Austria and Romania all emerged victorious. They join DPR Korea, Hungary, Poland and Singapore who had booked places on the second day of action.

Marcos Freitas and João Monteiro reflect on the Portuguese win

“We are very happy, it’s a fourth Olympic Games representing Portugal. We knew we had to be great today and we just gave everything, we did it. I think we played really well from the first point until the end, that is why we could win 3-0. It was a really hard game, he is a very good player, I just lost to him (Cédric Nuytinck) last week in champions league 3-0 but it was close, Today I started really well, 2-0 up, I changed some tactics and received better. In the last game, I just thought to put one more ball on the table.” Marcos Freitas

“The team showed once again that we are in the top teams of the world. Two 3-0 matches but really difficult. There were small details and the team spirit made the difference. In the team matches, I don’t think the individual results are that important. Today I won one game, yesterday Tiago won, what really matters is that the team wins at the end. I think that it was really important to win the doubles to start both matches. It gave me some extra confidence to play next. Also, I want to thank the public that showed up today here in Gondomar to support us. Now we are going to continue our work until June, so that we play our best at the beginning of the competition, and the goal is always the same, to win.” João Monteiro

All smiles for home supporters

The day ended with smiles on the faces of home supporters as Portugal, the no.8 seeds, beat Belgium, the no.12 seeds. A 3-0 win was the order of proceedings.

Bronze medallists at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro gave Portugal the perfect start by beating Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet (12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 13-11). Marcos Freitas followed suit, he overcame Cédric Nuytinck by the very narrowest of margins (11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10), before João Monteiro prevailed against Martin Allegro (12-10, 11-9, 11-6) to secure the ticket to Tokyo.

France in style

The no.4 seeds, the French combination comprising Tristan Flore, Simon Gauzy and Emmanuel Lebesson reserved their Olympic Games place in style; they recorded a 3-0 win in opposition to the no.18 seeds, the Slovak combination of Lubomir Pistej, Alexander Valuch and Wang Yang.

Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson beat Alexander Valuch and Wang Yang (12-14, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8); Simon Gauzy accounted for Lubomir Pistej (11-2, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5), Emmanuel Lebesson overcame Wang Yang (11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7).

Emmanuel Lebesson (left) and (right) Tristan Flore gave France the ideal start against Slovakia (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Croatians in no mood for charity

The no.9 seeds, the Croatian combination of Frane Kojic, Andrej Gacina and Tomislav Pucar were in no mood for charity; they upset the order of merit recording a 3-0 win against Great Britain, the no.7 seeds.

Frane Kojic and Andrej Gacina gave their team the perfect start by beating Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker (11-9, 11-2, 15-13), before Tomislav Pucar dealt a hammer blow by overcoming Liam Pitchford (7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8). Andrej Gacina overcame Paul Drinkhall to end proceedings (11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2).


Dimitrije Levajac, only 18 years old and listed at no.397 on the men’s world rankings prevails against 28 year Wong Chun Ting, ranked no.19 (11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6) to give Serbia, the no.27 seeds, a sensational 3-2 win against Hong Kong China, the no.10 seeds.

Decider it is

Lam Siu Hang has kept Hong Kong China in the match by winning a thrilling battle against Peto Zsolt, who won the first game but could not hold on. Winning 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4), Lam has brought the scores level to 2-2 between Hong Kong China and Serbia. Who will get on the plane to Tokyo?

Serbia lead – can they hold on?

Marko Jevtovic has brought the Serbian fans on their feet – after a brilliant 3-2 (11-6, 9-11, 11-11, 8-11, 11-6) win over Ho Kwan Kit, the 27th seeded Team Serbia are leading no.10 seed Hong Kong China by 2-1.

It’s now down to Peto Zsolt to keep up the pressure and see off Lam Siu Hang – but is that easier said than done?

Tokyo tickets for Sweden, Serbia level things

It’s been a quick and happy evening for Team Sweden, who beat Team Hungary 3-0 after Kristian Karlsson saw off Nandor Ecseki 3-1 (10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6), in similar fashion to his teammate, Mattias Falck.

“It was a tough tournament, with only one chance to qualify teams. It was a lot of pressure going into this tournament. The goal was to win the ticket and I’m happy we played two really good team matches. I’m proud of the team. The difference is that Olympic games are only every fourth year. So of course you really got to take the chance when you get it.” Mattias Falck

Team Serbia in the meantime have brought the score level to 1-1 against Team Hong Kong China. Lam Siu Hang could not handle Dimitrije Levajac’s pace on the table, who won in four games – all of which ended with the same score(11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7)!

Kristian Karlsson looks delighted to go to Tokyo! (Photo by Remy Gros)
Sweden closing in, Chinese Taipei secure win

Team Sweden are one win away from Tokyo, after Mattias Falck took care of Hungary’s Bence Majoros in fine fashion (10-12, 11-5, 11-1, 11-9). Despite being a game down, Falck saw himself rise to the challenge of Majoros and speed up the play for a well-earned win.

Over at Table 2, Team Chinese Taipei have successfully defeated Team Poland with an overall 3-0 scoreline, after Chuang Chih-Yuan wrapped up with a straight games win over Marek Badowski (11-9, 11-4, 11-7).

Hong Kong China build lead, Chinese Taipei double

Hong Kong China’s men’s team have a 1-0 lead over Team Serbia, who had a very good showing yesterday in Gondomar. Wong Chun Ting and Ho Kwan Kit beat Peto Zsolt and Marko Jevtovic 3-1 (11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11) to get things started.

Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei are edging ever closer to Tokyo, as they now lead Team Poland by two, after Lin Yun-Ju beat Jakub Dyjas in straight games.

Team Chinese Taipei are in form (Photo by Remy Gros)
Chinese Taipei and Sweden kick off evening session

The remaining men’s team’s matches are kicking-off now, as Team Chinese Taipei have taken the lead against Team Poland, with Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan beating Samuel Kulcycki and Marek Badowski (11-8, 11-6, 11-8).

Sweden are continuing their good form from yesterday as well, as Jon Persson and Kristian Karlsson saw off Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi in straight games.

Indian hearts broken, again

Seeded fifth, India’s men’s team has fallen to no.11 seeds Team Slovenia, for whom Darko Jorgic secured the final nail in the coffin after he beat Sharath Kamal Achanta 3-1 (10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8), meaning the score was 3-1 in favor of Slovenia.

“I have 38 degrees fever since yesterday, so yes we changed our draw. I was not able to play 2 singles. This was not a tactical decision, it was a sign from up that Darko should play the 2 singles and he played really well. It was not easy to play under the fever, my coordination and speed was not working well, so it needed a little more time, but in the end it was perfect.” Bojan Tokic

India have now had both their men’s and women’s team exit at the final hurdle on the same day. By contrast, Team Slovenia’s Jorgic is rightfully the backbone of this win, and will certainly be remembering today for completely different reasons.

Darko Jorgic, the backbone of victory (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Hong Kong China secure spots in Tokyo!

Keeping it rather simple, Team Hong Kong China have beaten Team Belarus in a straight 3-0 overall win, after Doo Hoi Kem and Soo Wai Yam Minnie both won their battles against Nadezhda Bogdanova and Viktoria Pavlovich in four games respectively.

Team Austria have joined them as well, after Sofia Polcanova saw off Team Spain’s Ana Garcia (11-13, 11-9, 11-1, 11-4) to record an overall 3-1 win for her country.

Austria gain control, Slovenia press on

Team Austria are gaining a good amount of control over their tie against Team Spain, as they now lead them 2-1 overall, after Liu Jia beat Sofia-Xuan Zhang in straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-1).

Over at table 3, Slovenia have also grabbed a hold of their match against Team India, leading them by 2-1. Despite the best efforts of Harmeet Desai, Bojan Tokic won the battle in style after being a game down (5-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6).

Austria’s Liu Jia was imperious (Photo by Remy Gros)
Slovenia level up, Hong Kong China lead

Team Slovenia have hit right back against Team India, with Darko Jorgic winning in straight games against Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-9, 12-10, 11-3), to bring the overall score to 1-1.

In the women’s team match between Hong Kong China and Belarus, Lee Ho Ching and Doo Hoi Kem have won their first battle 3-2 (11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 13-11) against Daria Trigolos and Nadezhda Bogdanova, giving the Asian side an early lead.

Austria commence well

Team Austria have won their first battle against Team Spain in the next women’s round of 16 match, as Liu Yuan and Liu Jia beat Ana Garcia and Sofia-Xuan Zhang in straight games (11-4, 11-4, 11-2).

Meanwhile, Team India’s men’s squad is out to achieve what their women’s team couldn’t as they are 1-0 ahead against Team Slovenia thanks to Sharath Kamal Achanta and Harmeet Desai winning 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-5) versus Deni Kozul and Bojan Tokic.

Romania break Indian hearts

It all came down to the final game between Manika Batra and Daniela Monteiro, and it was the European Champions Romania who cleared the table for a brilliant 3-2 overall win, sponsored by Monteiro’s 3-1 (11-8, 11-4, 3-11, 11-2) win.

“These players have the rackets really different from what we usually practice. It was really hard at first, but then we got into the game and it got a lot better. Lately, my ranking has been getting lower and lower, but when my team needs me I could give them the point, so I just really felt satisfied.” Daniela Monteiro Dodean

Despite taking a two game lead in the final battle, Monteiro looked shaky in the third game as Batra forced her repeatedly on her backhand. However, it was not to be for the Indian as Batra and her side fall at the final hurdle.

Securing the Tokyo spot for Romania, Daniela Monteiro! (Photo by Remy Gros)
Romania and India head for a decider!

It’s all square between the two women’s teams fighting it out for tickets to Tokyo, as the score now reads 2-2. Romania’s Elizabeta Samara first won 3-1 (12-10, 5-11, 11-2, 11-7) versus Ayhika Mukherjee, and then a thrilling battle followed.

Bernadette Szocs, fresh from a loss against Manika Batra, took no prisoners against India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee, pushing her to a decider within their battle. Despite the Romanian leading, it ended 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4) in the favor of the Indian, after an engaging match between the two athletes. Now it’s upto Manika Batra and Daniela Monteiro to decide the fate of their sides.

Celebrating a major win, Sutirtha Mukerjee. (Photo by Remy Gros)
Team France unable to progress

Team Chinese Taipei have made quick work of their battle against Team France as they won 3-0 overall after a stunning display of grit and steel by Chen Szu-Yu.

Facing off versus a determined Yuan Jia Nan, Chen fought back from a game down and took it to the decider to win 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8) despite the best efforts of the French athlete.

India hit back as Korea Republic secure win

India’s Manika Batra has raised the roof here in Multiusos de Gondomar as she beat Romanian fan favorite Bernadette Szocs 3-1 (7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7) to level the overall scores to 1-1.

Meanwhile, Team Korea Republic secured their 3-0 win over Team Czech Republic in the men’s event, courtesy Lee Sangsu’s superb performance against Pavel Sirucek (11-9, 11-5, 11-3).
Bernadette Szocs unable to break the Indian spirit. (Photo by Remy Gros)
Double time for Chinese Taipei and Korea Republic

The Asian teams are in good form this morning in Gondomar, as in the women’s event, Team Chinese Taipei now have a commanding 2-0 lead over Team France. Cheng I-Ching took care of Marie Migot in straight games and with a lot of strong backhands.

Over at table 2 at the men’s event, Team Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin was imperious in his 3-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-9) win against Team Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik, bringing his side 2-0 up.

Romania and Korea Republic build on good starts

In the other women’s team match, Team Romania have found their feet against a battling Team India, taking a 1-0 lead as Daniela Monteiro and Elizabeta Samara defeated Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee 3-2 (10-12, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6).

For the men’s teams match, Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu are showing some great shots as they took care of Team Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky and Pavel Sirucek in four games (11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Almost there for Team Korea Republic! (Photo by Remy Gros)
Early lead for Chinese Taipei

The women’s team’s battle for the final eight spots has begun with an early lead for Team Chinese Taipei, for whom Cheng Hsien-Tzu and Chen Szu-Yu beat Team France’s Stephanie Loeuillete and Yuan Jia Nan in straight games (12-10, 12-10, 13-11). Having been pushed beyond the 11 point mark in all three games, this match certainly has a long way to go.

Round of 16 time!
2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Event

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Day 5 - 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament

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