Unbeaten Hong Kong women beat South Korea to reach world table tennis quarter-finals
Doo Hoi-kem, Lee Ho-ching and Jiang Huajun led the way but the men’s team fell 3-1 to the Koreans to finish second in their group
Unbeaten Hong Kong marched into the women’s team quarter-finals after another impressive performance at the World Championships in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Against South Korea, who also won all their previous matches before their key clash in group D, Hong Kong made no mistake with a 3-1 triumph thanks to wins by Doo Hoi-kem, Lee Ho-ching and Jiang Huajun.
Only the top team from each of the four groups can book a direct place in the last eight while the second and third-placed teams will battle each other for the remaining four berths.
Coach Li Ching paid tribute to the Hong Kong team as they looked forward to improving on two years ago in Tokyo when they won a bronze medal.
“We were well prepared for the match against the Koreans and although we did come across problems during some parts of the match, the players showed no shortage of skills to come out winners,” said Li. “They have not only raised their game technically in a crucial match but also mentally they have shown sharp improvement.
“Now we are in the quarter-finals and of course our target will be a medal and hopefully we can bring home a different colour this time.”
Youngster Doo lost in straight games to chopper Seo Hyo-won in the opening match but Lee and Jiang soon put Hong Kong back in the lead with their respective wins over Yang Hae-un and Park Young-sook.
Doo recovered quickly in the fourth match when she defeated Yang 3-1 to wrap the tie up.
In the men’s team event, it was a reverse result for Hong Kong as they lost 3-1 to South Korea in the crucial match. Hong Kong settled for second place in the group as Croatia defeated Russia 3-2 in another match to claim third place.
Wong Chun-ting gave Hong Kong a flying start with his 3-1 win over Lee Sang-su in the first match, but it was the best they could offer. Veteran Joo Saeh-yuk, a world-class defensive player, secured two points for the Koreans, including a 3-0 victory over youngster Ho Kwan-kit while Jung Young-sik also beat Tang over after five games.
“The road ahead will be difficult now as we can't win the group,” said head coach Chan Kong-wah. “The Koreans are always a tough opponent but both Tang and Wong were not too far away from their best.
“Wong has never beaten Joo before and it was a very close defeat today. Ho, however, showed he still has a lot to learn on the international stage as he totally failed to perform in his defeat to Joo.”