Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men’s World Cup Results
(By Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup has concluded in Paris, France. This three-day annual event begins with group rounds on the first day and concludes with two days of elimination rounds. Entry is by invitation only, as twenty of the best players in the world compete, with each qualifying through regional Continental Cups and world ranking. The top eight players were automatically seeded to the elimination rounds while the other twelve players competed in group play – four groups of three with the top two advancing. The venue for the tournament this year was the Disney Event Arena at Disneyland Paris.
The first day was a real highlight for the USA as our entry, Kanak Jha,, pulled off an upset in his group play. Jha entered the event as the 18th seed. He was the lowest seed in his group and not expected to advance. However, his upset over Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna allowed him to advance. Jha’s group included France’s Gauzy (World Ranking No. 16) and Aruni (World No. 21). Gauzy won both matches and advanced to face Korea’s Sansu Lee in the Round of 16, and Jha advanced to face China’s Ling Gaoyuan. Ultimately both Gauzy and Jha lost in the Round of 16: great results in such an exclusive event – especially for the young American.
The top two seeds in the event were Fan Zhendong and Timo Boll. Fan defeated Brazil’s Tsuboi (4-0), then defeated Samsonov (4-0), and then defeated Lin Gaoyuan (4-1) to advance to the final. Boll defeated France’s Lebesson (4-1), then Japan’s Harimoto (4-1), and then overcame Ovtcharov (4-2) to reach the final.
The other matches went pretty much by seeding, though some of the scores were closer than expected. Samsonov pulled off the only Round of 16 upset by defeating Wong Chun Ting 4-1. Jonathan Groth took one game off of Koki Niwa in his loss. Kanak Jha managed to take a game off of World No. 4 Lin Gaoyuan. Sweden’s Mattias Falck pushed Ovtcharov to a seventh game, and Simon Gauzy pushed Sangsu Lee to seven as well. Harimoto dominated Korea’s Sangeun Jeong (4-0) in a match between World No. 6 and World No.11.
Boll and Zhendong were tied 9-9 in the first game. Zhendong won the next two points and didn’t look back. He won the next two games easily to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Boll won the fourth game close, but then fell in the fifth game. Zendong over Boll 4-1 (9, 5, 6, -9, 8).
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