The knockout draw has been completed for 2022 ITTF World Team Championships Finals in Chengdu.
In the Men’s Teams, Slovenia finished in the second place in their group, behind China. They will face Portugal in the opening round of the knockout phase. Darko Jorgic, the winner of the Europe Top 16 Cup earlier this year, may become an ace up Slovenia’s sleeve.
"I'm really happy with our performance here. We lost only to Chin and it’s ok. We played as well as we could, they were just much better than us”, said Jorgic. “In other matches, we were favorites. We gave it all from the beginning till the end. I'm really happy with our performance here, and I'm really happy that we qualified in the round 16 for the first time.”
Likewise, it was a group runners-up spot for Brazil. In their concluding group contest, they overcame Slovakia. Hugo Calderano remained unbeaten in the group stage, Vitor Ishiy and Eric Jouiti provided a valuable support. They will now face Japan.
"We were fighting for the second place in this match”, reflected Ishiy. “It's nice to go to the last 16 with the victory."
Similarly, it was second group spot for Egypt behind the Korean Republic. They now oppose Hong Kong, China, a contest Mohamed El-Beiali relishes.
"We're very happy to be in such a big stage, we're looking forward to the knockout stage. No matter who we play against, we'll try our best and win."
Puerto Rican team is discovering new frontiers here in Chengdu. In round one they face Germany. Daniely Rios, who against both Malaysia and the United States had been the heroine, on each occasion winning the vital fifth match of the fixture, reflected the mood of Puerto Rico.
"We are in the best 16 in the World Championships, I am so happy for that. I'm really happy that we made it for first time ever; this is history for my team. If my kids see this in the future, they will say ‘she made it!’”
Soo Wai Yam Minnie underlined the importance for Hong Kong, China in the women’s event; a team bolstered by their bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
"It's my second time participating a World Championships”, said Soo who four years ago in Halmstad beat the redoubtable Ding Ning, at time Olympic champion, in the semifinal encounter against China. “I really enjoy working together with my teammates,” she added. “We will try our best no matter what opponents we play against in the future."
Hong Kong, China faces Romania in round one, a nation whose excellence in the table tennis dates back to the very beginnings of the sport.
The players are excited to get into the round of 16 and are happy with the results they showed. The Chinese athletes though show some restrain attitude. They set an example of being 100% concentrated and do not let distract themselves from the future matches. They are the clear favourites to retain their titles but as Wang Manyu explained there is no complacency.
“We believe that we will face many difficulties in the second stage, and we will be fully prepared”, explained Wang. “Most importantly, all the team members will stay united and play even better."