Malaysian teams have crashed out in the opening round of the ITTF World Team Qualification tournament in Gondomar, Portugal.
The Malaysian men were handed a 1-3 defeat by Italy while the women suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of North Korea.
In the best of five match format, the Malaysian men picked up a solitary win in the doubles with the pair of Javen Choong-Wong Qi Shen defeating Leonardo Mutti-Niagol Stoyanov 11-4, 3-11, 11-9, 12-10.
With Muhamad Ashraf Haiqal, Qi Shen and Javen losing the next three singles, Italy eased into the next round.
The Malaysian women could not put a dent in the North Korean armor as they surrendered the tie, losing the first three matches. Tee Ai Xian-Ho Ying were the only Malaysia to pick a set from their opponents. They lost 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 2-11 to Kim Nam Hoe-Cha Hyo Sim.
Alice Chang Li Si and Ho Ying lost their singles match meekly to bow out of the competition.
Meanwhile in the other women’s competition, third seeded Singapore were the only leading team to fail a clean win to beat 20th seeds Luxembourg 3-1. Singapore’s only blemish was in the shock defeat of their top pair of Lin Ye-Yu Mengyu, who were beaten 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 by Ni Xia Lin-Sarah De Nutte.
The other top ranked teams did not encounter much resistance. Fourth seeds South Korea beat Lithuania 3-0 and will meet North Korea. The match would determine who gets the chance to play at Tokyo 2020.
There were also 3-0 wins for fifth seeds Romania over Italy; sixth seeds Austria over the Czech Republic. Seventh seeds Hungary prevailed against Croatia while ninth seeded Poland secured victory against Nigeria.
The major upset of the day was the defeat of 12 seeds Russia at the hands of France, seeded six rungs below.
Thailand’s the 15th seeds were also on the losing end, defeated by 22nd seeds Belarus with 41-year-old Viktoria Pavlovich starring for the victors.
In the men’s event, it was also a breeze for most of the top seeded teams with top seeds South Korea leading the way with a 3-0 whitewash of Russia.
First round: Italy bt Malaysia 3-1 (Leoardo Mutti-Niagol Stoyanov lost to Javen Choong-Wong Qi Shen 4-11, 11-3, 9-11, 10-12; Mihai Bobocica bt Muhamad Ashraf Haiqal 11-6, 11-6, 11-7; Stoyanov Niagol bt Wong Qi Shen 11-1, 11-3, 11-6; Mihai Bobocica bt Javen Choong 11-9, 11-2, 11-6); Poland bt Lithuania 3-0: India bt Luxembourg 3-0; Slovenia bt Iran 3-1; South Korea bt Russia 3-0; Czech Republic bt North Korea 3-2
First round: North Korea bt Malaysia 3-0 (Kim Nam Hae-Cha Hyo Sim bt Tee Ai Xin-Ho Ying 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2; Kim Song I bt Alice Chang Li Sian 11-5, 11-2, 11-3; Cha Hyo Sim bt Ho Ying 11-5, 11-7, 11-3); Poland bt Nigeria 3-0; France bt Russia 3-1; Belarus bt Thailand 3-2; Singapore bt Luxembourg 3-1; Netherlands bt Serbia 3-0; Spain bt Great Britain 3-0; Austria bt Czech Republic 3-0; South Korea bt Lithuania 3-0; Portugal bt Slovakia 3-0; Hungary bt Croatia 3-0; Romania bt Italy 3-0; India bt Sweden 3-2