South Korean table tennis failed to cross the ‘Great Wall of China’ and finished runners-up at the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Mixed Team World Cup.
The Koreans lost to China 1-8 in the seventh and final game of the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 Main League on Tuesday in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
With 13 points, South Korea finished the tournament in second place, one point behind China with 14 points.
After going undefeated in four games in the preliminary league against Taiwan, Singapore, Canada and India, South Korea raised their hopes of winning the title with a six-game winning streak in the eight-team tournament, but they were unable to overcome the home favorite.
South Korea had previously defeated European powerhouses France, Sweden, and Germany, as well as Taiwan, Slovakia, and Japan, which was considered the world’s second-best team.
Japan, which lost only to China and Korea, finished third with 12 points.
As runners-up at the tournament, Korea Table Tennis will be looking forward to the Busan 2024 Team World Championships on home soil.
The Busan World Championships will be held at the Busan BEXCO from February 16-25 next year.
The Mixed Team World Cup was organized by the ITTF for the first time this year and will be held annually from now on.
Unlike the WTT series, which is managed by a separate organization called World Table Tennis (WTT), it is directly organized by the ITTF.
“World Cup” was the name given to the top-level international event organized by the ITTF prior to the launch of the WTT in 2021, but the name was revived for the Mixed Team World Cup.
The Mixed Team World Cup is not decided by match points, but by the total number of game points in each match. The first team to score eight game points wins the match.
South Korea faced China without the services of female veteran Jeon Jeon-hee (Mirae Asset Securities), who was forced to withdraw from the match due to stomach cramps.
Shin Yoo-bin (Korean Air), the “ace” who teamed up with Jeon to win the women’s doubles gold medal at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, was paired with Ahn Jae-hyun (Korea Exchange) at No. 1 doubles.
Shin was not at full strength, having missed the previous two matches with shoulder and back problems.
China started with the “strongest combination” of Wang Chuchin and Sun Yingxia.
Wang Chuchin is the next generation ace who won the men’s singles, men’s team, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles titles at this year’s Hangzhou 2023 Asian Games, while Sun Yingxia is a powerhouse who won three women’s titles at the same event.
Ahn Jae-hyun-Shin Yubin were unable to overcome the strong attack of Wang Chu-chin-Sun Ying-sa, losing the game 0-3 (8-11 8-11 5-11).
The tide remained unchanged.
In the second singles, Kim Na-young (POSCO International) lost to Wang Man-yu 0-3 (2-11 5-11 7-11).
In the third singles, Lee Sang-soo (Samsung Life) took one game from Pan Jeon-dong to keep Korea from losing.
Lee fell 1-2 (7-11 12-10 4-11) to Pan Jeon-dong. 파워볼