Former champions Singapore have qualified for the World Team Table Tennis Championships following their 3-2 victory over Netherlands in the Portuguese city of Gondomar yesterday.
Also making the cut from the ongoing World Team qualification tournament are the women’s teams from North Korea, Hungary and Poland.
The third seeded Singapore’s qualification was ensured by an inspired Feng Tianwei, who picked up a 11-8, 13-15, 11-5, 11-5 win over Li Jiao in the decisive final singles match. Earlier Tianwei had accounted for Britt Ekland in her first singles match.
Hungary, playing without their star player Georgina Pota, proved too strong for hosts Portugal. Dora Madarasz stepped in her shoes by claiming two points as the Hungarians defeated the hosts 3-1 and earn their spot in the world championships.
In the battle between the eighth and ninth seeds, the higher ranked Poland prevailed 3-1. Reigning European champion Li Qian was the ace in the Polish side as she accounted for both Margaryta Pesotska and Tetyana Bilenko to give them two crucial points.
Eight more teams would be seeking to seal their place for the world championships later today as they play in the Last 16 matches, with the winners of each of the shootouts advancing.
Hong Kong will play Belarus, Spain against Austria, Romania square off against India while France take on Chinese Taipei, in do-or-die match-ups.
Similarly top seeded Korea heads the list of countries hoping to book their World Team Championships berths in the men’s Last 16 matches.
The men’s matches that would decide their hopes are South Korea vs Czech Republic, Slovenia vs India, Great Britain vs Croatia, Hungary vs Sweden, France vs Slovakia, Belgium vs Portugal, Serbia vs Hong Kong China and Poland vs Chinese Taipei.
ROUND OF 32: Serbia bt Austria 3-2, Hong Kong bt Singapore 3-2, Poland bt Nigeria 3-2; Sweden bt Spain 3-0; Hungary bt Belarus 3-0; Chinese Taipei bt Thailand 3-0; France bt Denmark 3-0; Croatia bt Greece 3-1; Slovakia bt Romania 3-2; Portugal bt Ukraine 3-0; Belgium bt Italy 3-2; Great Britain bt Argentina 3-0
ROUND OF 16: Singapore bt Netherlands 3-2, North Korea bt South Korea 3-1; Hungary bt Portugal 3-1; Poland bt Ukraine 3-1