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World Team Championships: USA Teams Log Early Wins

(by Steve Hopkins, photo USATT)

The 2022 ITTF World Team Championships Finals is underway in Chengdu, China.  All teams are maneuvering through the group stage, and both USA teams won their opening match.  After Day 2, our Men’s team is 1-0 (their next match is against China on Sunday), and our Women’s team is 1-1.

The TeamUSA Men are in Group 1 (of 7) and are seeded third with China and Slovenia above them and Puerto Rico and Thailand below them.  USA’s first match was against the bottom seeded Thai team.  In the match, USA’s Mishel Levinski fell 2-3 to Sanguansin, USA’s Jishan Liang then won 3-0 over Passara, USA’s Earl James Alto lost 0-3 to Tancharden, Jishan Liang then defeated Sanguansin 3-2 and in the deciding match it was Mishel Levinski topping Passara 3-0.  The top two seeds in the group have had a pretty easy time thus far.  Slovenia (with one of Europe’s best, Darko Jorgic, and a very strong second, Deni Kozul) defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 and then defeated Thailand 3-0.  Top seeded China had a 3-0 win in their opening match against Puerto Rico.  In the group, Puerto Rico is currently 0-2, but have only played the top two seeds.  Next up for USA is Team China on Sunday.

For the women, TeamUSA started strong with a win over Canada.  Sarah Jalli, Lily Zhang, and Tiffany Ke each logged a dominant win (over Crystal Liu, Ivy Liao, and Jiayi Nie respectively).  In their second match, Team USA suffered a tough 3-2 loss to Malaysia.  In that match, Lily ZHang won both of her matches – a 3-0 win over Karen Lyne, and a tight 3-2 win over Li Sian Alice Chang.  Unfortunately, Sarah Jalli fell to both of those same players 0-3, and Tiffany Ke fell 1-3 to Ai Xin Tee.  In the end, TeamUSA falls to 1-1 in the group and Malaysia benefits from the upset and is now also 1-1.  Puerto Rico and China are both undefeated in the group – and they will play tomorrow.

There have not been many surprises yet.  The top two seeds in six of the groups remain in solid position to hold their places.  The German team, who arrived without Boll and Ovtcharov and Franziska is undefeated with their younger squad.  The only potential surprise on the Men’s side is that Taipei lost their opening match with Beligium – perhaps, not a completely unexpected result as Taipei’s top player, Lin Yun-Ju did not make the trip to Chengdu.

The women’s event has had a few more surpises.  TeamUSA fell to Malaysia.  Luxembourg took out top-seeded Korea in Group 4, and Sweden is currently 0-2 in Group 6 after losing to both Portugal and Romania.

There is a lot more action in the group stages – most of the teams have only played 1 or 2 of their five matches, and the top seeds will match up against each other on the final day.

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