The inaugural ITTF Mixed Team World Cup has opened in exhilarating fashion as teams look to book their spots into Stage 2, with teams pulling off incredible comebacks and a number of surprising upsets leaving fans stunned.
Starting off the day with excitement, in a thrilling showdown against Singapore, India seized the win 8-7. After a slow start and trailing 1-5 behind, India launched a comeback with Archana Girish Kamath and Swastika Ghosh sealing the deal in the women’s doubles games, winning 2-1 and defeating Singapore 8-7.
“We started a little late, in mixed doubles, we lost two-one but we really feel very glad to win at the end 8-7. We are aware of the system in India in the UTT league where every game counts, so we were prepared and it really helped us a lot. We are a young team and they’re eager to perform. We are very happy for the first match,’ reflected Team India’s coach.
Despite losing to Canada and Chinese Taipei later in the day, there is no telling what may happen in tomorrow’s matches where they will face Korea Republic to decide their fate.
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Finishing off the night with a bang, #15 seed Puerto Rico narrowly defeated #7 seed Hong Kong, China in a thrilling display of teamwork. At 6-6, Puerto Rico unleashed their sister pairing, Adriana and Melanie Diaz to bring home the win 8-7.
“With this type of tournament, you have to fight through every set. I knew that every set was very important for us to get the win. When we got the time-out, my dad just told me to keep fighting, you can do it. I trusted my instincts and I played great and I’m very happy that we could beat the Hong Kong team,” said Adriana Diaz.
“We knew that we needed to win two sets (for women’s doubles), so we can beat them. I just told my sister that we needed to be very specific with our shots. We needed to play as hard as we could. And we knew that after we won the first set, they were very nervous. So we took that for advantage, and then we just kept playing.”
Puerto Rico will now have to play first seed China and 10th seed Sweden tomorrow to determine if they qualify for Stage 2.
Continuing their history breaking performance at ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals in Chengdu last year, in Group 2 Slovakia claimed a solid victory over European Teams Championships bronze medallists, Portugal. A tight start saw even standing for both teams, before Yang Wang overpowered Tiago Li in straight games, giving Slovakia the edge. Wang then partnered with Samuel Arpas in the men’s doubles to close the deal, giving Slovakia the win 8-5.
“The atmosphere in Chengdu feels quite good. Because the last competition was closed, this time the atmosphere feels good. It’s our first time, and everyone is eager to get on the court, so the atmosphere is pretty good. Looking forward to participating in the next round. It’s mainly me because I am a defensive player. I felt that today I had to play in singles, and I performed quite well. I am satisfied and happy with my performance, hoping to continue working hard tomorrow,” said Wang.
To ensure they move forward into Stage 2 in the post possible position, Slovakia will now need to defeat both Germany and Egypt tomorrow.
With Stage 1 matches coming to an end tomorrow and the riveting Stage 2 starting on Wednesday, the next few days will certainly be packed to the brim with action. Play resumes 11:00 local time (GMT+3) on Tuesday.