Hong Kong falter in quarter-finals at World Team Table Tennis Championships
The men’s squad battle hard but lose to Japan 3-1 while the women go down 3-2 in a tense encounter with Taiwan
So near but so far was the story for the Hong Kong men and women as they crashed out of the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
Although going down 3-1 to Japan in the quarter-finals, it was a brave effort by the Hong Kong men’s team and a huge improvement on their 17th placing in Tokyo two years ago.
The woman were surprisingly beaten 3-2 by Taiwan but coach Chan Kong-wah was not discouraged.
“In the women’s event, we were under pressure against underdog Taiwan but our performance was not too far away from our best,” said Chan. “Taiwan had nothing to lose as they dug deep to hold us off.
“It’s always difficult when it goes to a fifth decider but our girls showed no shortage of skill and courage in tough conditions, especially veteran Tie Yana, 36, who took on two matches despite her age.
In the men, “Wong [Chun-ting] had chances to win both his matches that could have brought us victory against Japan, but he just needs the finishing touches to complete the job. Overall, it’s not disappointing.”
Youngster Ho Kwan-kit was used as the number one player against Japan, losing 3-1 to Jun Mizutani in the opening match. Tang Peng beat Koki Niwa in straight games in his battle but Wong lost both his matches 3-2.
Wong had match point against world No 7 Mizutani in the fourth match but let Mizutani storm back to snatch the encounter 13-11 after deuce and close it out 3-2. He also lost to Maharu Yoshimura after five close games.
Doo Hoi-kem got the women’s team off to a great start when the youngster beat Chen Sze-yu in straight games, but Taiwan levelled when Cheng I-ching edged Tie after five games.
Lee Ho-ching put Hong Kong back into the lead with a 3-2 win over Cheng Hsin-tzu but Cheng accounted for Doo 3-1.
It all came down to the final tie between Tie and Chen, and Chen held her nerve to clinch it 3-1 win and put Taiwan into the semi-finals, where they will meet China.