Hong Kong’s men join the women in reaching quarter-finals at World Team Table Tennis Championships
Tang Peng, Wong Chun-ting and Ho Kwan-kit beat Austria 3-1 in play-off in Kuala Lumpur
Hong Kong easily reached the men’s quarter-finals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships with a 3-1 win over Austria in a play-off in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Having finished second in their group, Hong Kong had to play an additional encounter, but it was not an issue for Tang Peng, Wong Chun-ting and Ho Kwan-kit.
Tang and Wong accounted for Stefan Fegerl and Robert Cardos, respectively, cruising to 3-1 victories in the first two matches. Ho put up a brave fight against veteran Werner Schlager, the 2003 singles world champion, before losing 3-2. The 18-year-old Ho missed a match point when leading 10-9 in the rubber game as Schlager, now 43, took three points in a row and the match.
Wong, the world No 12, was too strong for Fegerl in the reverse match with a straight 3-0 win to settle the matter.
“Wong is getting better as the tournament goes on,” said coach Chan Kong-wah. “He lived up to expectations by winning both matches while Tang also delivered. They both look positive.
“Ho still needs more exposure in major tournaments. He should have beaten [Schlager] in the third match after leading 7-3 and then 10-9 in the rubber game but instead he lost it after deuce.
“But this should be a good lesson for him and if he can take something from it, he may be better in the next match.”
Ho, 18, was called into the squad after regular Jiang Tianyi was forced to miss the tournament due to a nagging knee problem.
It will be a big ask for him when Hong Kong take on one of the favourites, Japan, in the quarter-finals.
“They are obviously the better side and we need a very neat performance in order to pull off a surprise,” said Chan.
In the women, Hong Kong, who finished top of their group, will meet Taiwan for a place in the semi-finals.
“[Taiwan] are comparatively easier to handle compared to other teams but it doesn’t mean we can take things for granted,” said Chan. “We have to be fully focused and not give the opponents any chance.”
In the two women’s quarter-finals on Thursday night, the top two seeds – China and Japan – both made it to the next round.
Japan made amends when they thrashed Germany 3-0 after losing to the Europeans 3-2 during the group stage, while China achieved the same scoreline over the Netherlands, although their reigning world singles champion Ding Ning needed five games to overcome Li Jie in the third match.