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Chinese Paddlers Dominate ITTF World Cup Group Stage, Advance to Knockout Round

Beijing, April 17, 2024, The Europe Today: In an impressive display of skill and resilience, 11 paddlers from Team China secured their spots in the knockout stage of the ITTF World Cup following intense competition on Wednesday. Among them, Wang Chuqin and Lin Gaoyuan redeemed themselves with commanding 4-0 victories, ensuring their progression after a challenging start in the tournament.

The innovative tournament format featured 48 players divided into 16 groups for the round-robin group stage, with matches played over four games. Group rankings were determined by win-loss ratios, with the top player from each group advancing to the knockout phase.

World No. 1 Wang Chuqin and eighth-ranked Lin Gaoyuan faced initial setbacks on the opening day, settling for a 2-2 tie and raising doubts about their knockout stage prospects. However, both athletes staged impressive comebacks, with Wang decisively defeating Kirill Gerassimenko and Lin achieving a similar result against Chuang Chih-Yuan from Chinese Taipei.

Reflecting on the challenging start, Wang Chuqin remarked, “The first matchday was really tough, but I think it is a precious test I should experience, seeing whether I can fight back.”

Other standout performances included Ma Long, Liang Jingkun, and Lin Shidong finishing the group stage with flawless records, winning all eight sets. Fan Zhendong also secured a spot in the top 16 with consecutive victories (4-0, 3-1).

In the women’s competition, defending champion Chen Meng demonstrated her prowess by defeating Indian paddler Sreeja Akula 3-1. Following the match, Chen acknowledged the diverse playing styles of the Indian team, emphasizing the increased attention her team has dedicated to preparing for such challenges.

Joining Chen Meng in the last 16 are Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu, Wang Yidi, and Chen Xingtong, highlighting China’s dominant presence in the women’s category. Notably, Kuai Man was the only Chinese player to miss the knockout stage, despite a 2-2 tie with Jeon Jihee, due to an unfavorable point difference.

The ITTF World Cup promises further excitement and fierce competition as the top players advance to the knockout rounds, showcasing elite table tennis talent on the global stage.