Published: 09:54, February 22, 2024 | Updated: 10:03, February 22, 2024
China storms to quarters at table tennis team worlds
By Xinhua

Chen Meng of China competes against Suthasini Sawettabut of Thailand during the women's team round of 16 at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Busan 2024 in Busan, South Korea, Feb 21, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

BUSAN, South Korea - China romped to both women's and men's quarterfinals with straight-set victories on Wednesday, while the defending champions expect fierce contention in their next matches at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals.

China will face hosts South Korea in the women's quarterfinals, while setting up a clash with Japan at the same stage in the men's category.

In the round-of-16 duel against Thailand, Chen Meng held a firm grip of her opener against Suthasini Sawettabut, emerging victorious 11-3, 11-5, 11-0 to put China in a commanding position.

Stepping on the court next, Sun Yingsha underwent a bit test in her first game against Jinnipa Sawettabut, while pocketing the final three points to win 11-8. The top-ranked paddler improved her form afterward, winning the next two games 11-6, 11-5.

On the men's side, China met little resistance to dispatch Romania in three sets. Ovidiu Ionescu built an early lead and was one point away from his opening game win at 10-7, but Wang Chuqin showed his tenacity, notching five points in a row to turn the tide. The world number two was unstoppable from there, triumphing 11-1, 11-4 to launch China's winning campaign

Wang Yidi gained the upper hand in her spectacular rallies with Orawan Paranang, and the world number two triumphed 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 to put the game to bed.

Jeon Ji-hee laid on a heroic performance as South Korea withstood its highest-ranked player Shin Yu-bin's opening loss to dispatch Brazil 3-1.

Bruna Takahashi handed Brazil a morale-boosting advantage by stunning home favorite Shin, ranked eighth in the world, in full games.

Jeon put the hosts on level terms with her victory over Giulia Takahashi, younger sister of Bruna, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2.

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Lee Zi-on powered South Korea ahead with a straight-game victory over Bruna Alexandre, and Jeon followed in to pick up her second win of the day in straight games against Bruna Takahashi in a clash of the two sides' number one paddlers.

Japan, who reached the past four editions of the event's final, sailed through its first knockout match in dominant fashion, defeating Croatia 3-0.

Other women's quarterfinalists are France, Romania, Germany, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, China.

On the men's side, China met little resistance to dispatch Romania in three sets. Ovidiu Ionescu built an early lead and was one point away from his opening game win at 10-7, but Wang Chuqin showed his tenacity, notching five points in a row to turn the tide. The world number two was unstoppable from there, triumphing 11-1, 11-4 to launch China's winning campaign.

"I didn't have a good grasp of the opponent's rhythm in the beginning, but I never gave up when I was down 8-2 in the first game and just wanted to come back point by point," Wang remarked.

Fan Zhendong of China competes against Eduard Ionescu of Romania during the men's team round of 16 at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Busan 2024 in Busan, South Korea, Feb 21, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Fan Zhendong cruised to an 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 victory over Eduard Ionescu as China led by two sets.

"As it's the knockout stage, and they won the match in the morning session, I was focused on my own game and made adjustments on the court," Fan noted.

Veteran Ma Long outplayed Darius Movileanu 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 to seal the deal.

"Focusing on every point is the top priority for us. With eight teams remaining in the competition, every team has the strength to challenge others, and we will do the same thing," commented Ma.

READ MORE: China rolls to 3rd consecutive men's group win at Busan

Tomokazu Harimoto, Hiroto Shinozuka and Sora Matsushima combined to help Japan post a 3-0 victory over Austria and book an encounter with reigning champions China.

Group winners South Korea, France, Portugal and Germany also reached the men's last eight, while Chinese Taipei and Denmark upset their respective opponents, Sweden and Slovenia, in full sets.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong, China suffered a heartbroken 3-2 loss to Austria in the men's team round of 32 as Lam Siu Hang also fell in full games to Andreas Levenko in the decisive matchup.