17 Apr 2024

After three exhilarating days filled with intense battles, remarkable comebacks, and draw outcomes, Stage 1 has come to a close, with all our main draw qualifiers determined. The stage is now set for the road to the prestigious Evans and Hammarlund Cups. As matches return to the best-of-seven format, fans can anticipate thrilling displays table tennis over the next few days as the World Cup champions are found.

In the Women’s Singles, World No.1 Sun Yingsha stands atop the table, poised to kick off her main draw campaign against compatriot Chen Xingtong. Sun enters the match filled with determination, seeking redemption after her recent loss to Chen at the Singapore Smash 2024.

In the lower half of the draw, Wang Manyu prepares to square off against Bernadette Szocs, marking their first encounter since 2018, where Wang emerged victorious with a 4-0 win. Macao marks Szocs’s fourth appearance at the Women’s World Cup, and she is determined to advance beyond the round of 16, a feat that has eluded her in her previous World Cup appearances.

‘My expectation is to reach the semi final. This is my dream. I know, I need to take it match by match. I will also focus on my game, because it’s the most important. If I play what I am practising and I can play my best, the results will come.’ Bernadette Szocs

Defending champion Chen Meng is set to face off against Suthasini Sawettabut, who is currently on a dream run after qualifying as the third-ranked player from her group. This will be the fifth encounter between the two players, with Chen aiming for a fifth consecutive victory. However, Sawettabut will be looking to capitalise on her momentum following her thrilling performances in Stage 1.

‘Entering the knockout stage tomorrow, opponents will become stronger. Everyone has gone through the competition in the group stage to advance. I think the knockout stage will be different from the previous four-game format, so it’s important to control the rhythm of the entire match on the court.’ Chen Meng

In the Men’s Singles, World No.1 Wang Chuqin will take on Hugo Calderano in his opening match of the main draw. With a current three-win streak against Calderano, Wang aims to extend his dominance and secure advancement to the next round. Meanwhile, Calderano enters the main draw on the back of a series of strong performances, having reached the finals at both WTT Champions Incheon 2024 and WTT Star Contender Goa 2024.

‘I think it’s quite fortunate for me to advance to the knockout stage. I will cherish this stage as much as possible, because it’s also my first time participating in the World Cup. I hope to play my best in this World Cup.’ Wang Chuqin 

In the bottom half of the draw, defending champion and four-time Men’s World Cup winner, Fan Zhendong’s first matchup is teammate Lin Shidong. This rematch comes after their encounter at the Singapore Smash 2024, where Lin caused a major upset by defeating Fan 3-1 in the round of 32. Fan is determined to come out swinging, seeking vengeance for his previous loss and aiming to continue his campaign to make history with a record-breaking 5th Men’s World Cup title.

As the top points scorer in the Men’s Singles during Stage 1, Omar Assar, the 2023 African Cup winner, is poised to compete against Shunsuke Togami. Togami, who is enjoying a remarkable debut in the World Cup, seeks to maintain his momentum as he enters the main draw. This match will be their first meeting since 2022, when Assar emerged victorious 3-1.

Get ready to be amazed as play resumes in the best-of-seven format, with the world’s top athletes going head-to-head for the coveted World Cup titles. Brace yourself for thrilling matches, incredible displays of skill, and intense competition as the stage is set for the ultimate showdown in pursuit of glory.

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