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Table Tennis: Hosts Japan move into quarters of World Team Champs

Masato Shiono helped hosts Japan beat Hungary 3-0 and top Group C to move into the quarter-finals of the Zen-Noh World Team Championships in Tokyo. Photos: Remy Gros / ITTF / Action Images. 

May 2, 2014: The Japan men’s national team topped Group C to earn their spot in the quarter-finals of the Zen-Noh World Team Championships in Tokyo, where they also avoided a potential draw with top seeds China.

 

Japan, who suffered a shock opening-day defeat to Greece, defeated Hungary 3-2 in the last round of the group-stage matches on Thursday to top Group C.

 

Japan coach Yosuke Kurashima said: “The most important thing is that we came back from the defeat in the first match.”

 

Masato Shiono made his tournament debut against Hungary’s Janos Jakab, much to the delight of the home crowd, and the defender won his match 3-0.

 

“The match went my way and I could play my style of table tennis,” said Shiono, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday. “As a player my age, it is a privilege to play in the national team and to lead the team to win.”

 

Shiono also attributed his success to a new serve he had practised, something Kurashima also noticed. “Shiono was very strong and his serves were especially strong,” Kurashima said. “He cannot only defend, but his attacks are sharp. With him we can now compete with our women’s team for the medals.”

 

Japan will now face the winner of Portugal and Poland in the quarter-finals and a potential semi-final encounter with Germany should they win.

 

Germany, who won the bronze medal at London 2012, remain unbeaten in the tournament after a 3-2 win over Ukraine, where Oleksandr Didukh upset current World No. 4 Dimitrij Ovtcharov in five sets. Germany will play the winner of Singapore and Sweden for a place in the semi-finals.

 

In the top half of the championship draw, favourites China will play the winner of Austria and Greece in the quarter-finals and Korea Republic will play the winner of Chinese Taipei and Croatia.

 

Korea Republic finished first in their group despite losing 3-2 to Korea DPR, in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Jung Young-sik and Cho Eon-rae gave Korea Republic a 2-0 lead, but the Korea DPR trio of Kim Nam-chol, Kim Hyok-bong and Choe Il fought back to emerge victorious.

 

Jung Young-sik helped give Korea Republic a 2-0 lead against Korea PDR, but the North eventually won 3-2.

Jung Young-sik helped give Korea Republic a 2-0 lead against Korea PDR, but the North eventually won 3-2.

Japan also avoided a clash with China in the women’s championship rounds. Japan, the only unbeaten team left in the competition other than China, will face the winner of the match between Chinese Taipei and Belarus, with a potential semi-final encounter against Hong Kong. Hong Kong play the winner of Germany and Belarus.

 

Singapore, the 2010 world champions, won their group with a 3-1 victory against France, while Korea Republic finished second after defeating Luxembourg 3-2. This was the second time the Korean team faced a potential upset in the tournament, having narrowly edged out the Netherlands 3-2 in an earlier group match.

 

Singapore will now face the winner of Korea Republic and Romania, while China will play the winner of Korea DPR and Ukraine in the other half of the bracket.

 

The World Team Championships is the largest in ITTF history, with 144 men’s and 95 women’s teams participating.

 

Source: ITTF

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