(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager)
United States suffers defeat but Kanak Jha causes biggest upset
Defeat for the United States, the no.11 seeds, in their opening contest in the Men’s event at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London on the early afternoon of Thursday 22nd February but it was from within their ranks that the performance of the tournament to date was produced.
Kanak Jha, winner of the Boys’ Singles title at the recent 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg was the man in form.
Currently listed at no.90 on the Men’s World Rankings, in the contest against Hong Kong, the no. 4 seeds, after colleagues Adar Alguetti and Feng Yijun had lost to Ho Kwan Kit and Ng Pak Nam (11-7, 11-3, 11-3), the 17 year old American excelled.
He beat Wong Chun Ting, presently listed at no.7 in the global order. Impressively Kanak Jha prevailed in three straight games (11-8, 12-10, 11-8).
“I’m really happy with the result; I just went out there and told myself to fight. I had nothing to lose; just forget the score and play. We were one-nil down but we knew Hong Kong was strong in the doubles. I was focused, I received service well. It was the first time I’d played him but I’d watched him play, so I had a good idea how he served. He plays with a great deal of top spin but today my backhand was good and I was able to control the play, I blocked well. I tried to play safe not take too many risks.” Kanak Jha
Success for Kanak Jha but it was not to ignite a major recovery. Ho Kwan Kit beat Feng Yijun (11-9, 12-10, 11-8) to restore Hong Kong’s advantage before Wong Chun Ting returned to the fray; he accounted for Adar Alguetti to end matters (11-2, 13-11, 11-5).
A three-one success for Hong Kong; as the first session of play came to a conclusion, Germany, the no.3 seeds, beat Australia by three matches to nil.
Ruwen Filus and Patrick Franziska combined to overcome David Powell and Kane Townsend (12-10, 11-5, 11-1); Dimitrij Ovtcharov accounted for Heming Hu to extend the lead (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4), prior to Patrick Franziska defeating Kane Townsend (11-6, 11-6, 11-6) to close the curtain.
Later in the day at 5.00pm (local time), Germany faces Korea, the no.5 seeds; Hong Kong opposes Brazil, the no.6 seeds.
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