17 Apr 2024

The first three days of competition at the ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup, Macao 2024 have come to a thrilling conclusion, marking the end of the race for a place in Stage 2. Fans at the Galaxy Arena were kept on the edges of their seats throughout the intense competition. With places for the next round decided, let’s revisit some of the highlights from Stage 1.

In an electrifying opening match on day 3, Shunsuke Togami continued his winning streak, building on the momentum from the previous day. With a thrilling victory over 10th seed Dang Qiu, he secured his spot in Stage 2, prevailing 3-1 (11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-0) in a significant upset. This win catapulted him to the top of the group 11 rankings and guaranteed his place in the round of 16 after his impressive win against Ahmed Salah on day 2 (11-9, 4-11, 11-3, 11-4). Togami will now face 2023 Africa Cup winner Omar Assar tomorrow in the round of 16 

‘This time we have a very special playing system with matches containing only four games. This creates a unique sense of tension and a different atmosphere than usual. It’s my first time playing on the big stage of the World Cup, and I’ve approached my matches with a challenger’s mindset. I’d rate my performance at about 90 out of 100. From quarterfinals onwards, we’ll return to the usual rules where players compete in best of 7 matches. I’ll maintain my current approach and once again adopt a challenger’s mindset to fight hard in the next stage.’ Shunsuke Togami. 

Suthasini Sawettabut achieves a remarkable feat at her Women’s World Cup debut by advancing through group 7 as the third seeded player. Securing two games against both 8th seed Mima Ito and Amy Wang, in the only three way win-to-loss game ratio draw of the event. Sawettabut secured her top position through her winning win-to-loss points ratio of 1.06, narrowly defeating Ito (0.99) and Wang (0.96). Sawettabut will encounter defending champion Chen Meng in a challenging round of 16 match tomorrow 

In a nail-biting showdown that had fans captivated, Darko Jorgic clashed with Lee Sang Su in a closely contested match. With each point carrying immense weight, the tension was palpable as the players battled fiercely. Despite the intense pressure, Jorgic claimed two games to draw with Lee with a score of 11-9, 10-12, 11-3, 5-11. However, Jorgic narrowly clinched victory by edging out Lee by a mere 2 points, sealing his place in the round of 16. Jorgic will face off with Lin Gaoyuan tomorrow. 

‘I’m happy that I went through. I think I was really lucky with just 2 points. I also spoke with Lee. When you are down, you are just thinking how many points you need to win against him. I just stopped counting how many points, then it was going very fast. I’m just happy and lucky that in the end I’m through this group. I know [stage 2] is really tough. All the opponents are really strong. I just hope for my best performance, I hope tomorrow I am showing a better performance.’ Darko Jorgic. 

Closing off Stage 1 with the tightest draw of the event, Sofia Polcanova secures her ticket to the round of 16 by a mere one-point margin, underlining the critical importance of every point in this thrilling new system. In a fiercely contested battle, Polcanova and Nina Mittleham engaged in an intense match that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Despite the immense pressure, Polcanova displayed remarkable composure and resilience, securing two crucial games to draw against Mittleham and accumulated 39 points, just one more point than Mittleham to book herself into the main draw in her fifth Women’s World Cup appearance. Polcanova will encounter Adriana Diaz in the round of 16 tomorrow.

‘During the last game, I didn’t even know that I won the decisive point. I was not counting. I was just trying to play my match.. Today, I think I had a little bit more luck. It could have gone either way, but today a little luck was more on my side. I think I will try to give my best [in the main draw], everybody here is very good. This is world class level, and we will see who I will play against and then let’s see.’  Sofia Polcanova. 

Intensity heats up over the next few days in Macao, as we enter into the knockout battle to determine the Men’s and Women’s World Cup Champion.

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