(BY MATT HETHERINGTON)
Zhang and Chodri Set For Center Court Mixed Doubles Showdown
Our team of Kunal Chodri and Lily Zhang have fought hard to make the main draw of the Mixed Doubles event at the 2017 Leibherr ITTF World Table Tennis Championships where they will face off against a tough opposition on center court. The pair had to qualify through three rounds of preliminary matches, starting in a round of 128, to qualify as one of the 16 pairs to advance to the main draw.
The pair started off on the right foot in the competition with some fantastic points played and great stability and control from early on in the tournament. They won their first match against Smirnov and Petrova of Estonia, 3-1. They would advance to play Pucar and Srebrnjak of Croatia who would present an even greater challenge. Trailing 2-1 they fought to deuce in the 4th game and went back and forth. To continue in the competition they would need to convert and push to a 5th game. They did and in the 5th set took the match with a decisive 11-3 victory.
Kanak Jha and Wu Yue would bow out in this round with a superbly fought match against Stoyanov and Vivarelli of Italy. 11-7 in the 5th game, almost but not quite.
In order to advance to the main draw, Chodri and Zhang would face another strong European pair in Lupulesku and Crepulja of Serbia. In a tightly contested showdown of back and forths it was USA who struck first to take advantage, leading 1-0 and again 2-1 in the match. This theme of being a step ahead aided them at deuce in the 5th game as they closed out in the narrowest of margins, 13-11.
Lily Zhang and Kunal Chodri had made the 16 teams to qualify for the main draw. The anxious wait began on who they would face and now the draw is posted.
Team USA will face off on table 1 against Fang Bo of China and Petrissa Solja of Germany. Best of luck team!
See full match results of Mixed Doubles Preliminary
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