England’s men and women ensured themselves of a place in the promotion knock-out phase of the Challenge Division at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo after back-t0-back wins on day two of the competition in Japan.
The men began strongly with a straightforward 3-0 win over minnows Congo Brazzaville after comprehensive victories for Daniel Reed, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker before facing the tougher task of third seeds Turkey in their second match.
Despite having a number of close battles in the recent past, the meeting with Turkey in Tokyo proved nothing of the sort as a brilliant English performance secured the route to the second round with only two games dropped. Liam Pitchford kicked-off the win with a 3-1 triumph over Ibrahim Gunduz before Paul Drinkhall picked up the key win against world no. 74 Bora Vang in the second rubber – a player who was previously unbeaten in the tournament.
The win was confirmed in the third match by Daniel Reed who dropped just 13 points in a one-sided victory over Gencay Menge to boost the English hopes in Group G.
It was a similar tale for the English women in Group F as Joanna Drinkhall, Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Hannah Hicks were all victorious during wins against both Colombia and Malaysia.
Tin-Tin, settled after her confidence-boosting 3-2 win over Wales’ Charlotte Carey yesterday, beat Paula Medina (ranked 192) in the opening fixture against Colombia with another 12-10 nerve-tester in the fifth. Her success was followed by 3-0 wins for both Drinkhall and Hicks as Colombia posed few problems for the English trio on Tuesday morning.
Another fine performance came later in the day as the women brushed aside the challenge of third seeds Malaysia 3-0 to complete a clean-sweep of matches for ‘Team England’ in Tokyo. Kelly Sibley, rested for the opening two fixtures, returned to the fold to defeat Ho Ying 3-0 before no.2 Drinkhall saw off Malaysia’s main threat, Beh Lee Wei (141) at a comfortable 3-1 margin.
The final match saw Tin-Tin pick up her third consecutive win on her World Championships debut as she beat Lee Rou You to seal England’s 3-0 romp.
The squad’s focus will now turn to Wednesday’s fixtures against the groups’ second seeds which will determine the seeding position for the knockout rounds. Group winners receive a bye to the quarter-finals with the men facing Slovakia and the women playing Lithuania in decisive encounters.
View the full report from the first day of the 2014 World Team Championships here
Latest 2014 World Team Championships, Tokyo (JPN) Scores:
Men’s Challenge Division Group G:
England 3-0 Congo Brazzaville
Daniel Reed bt Suraju Saka (272) 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-7)
Paul Drinkhall bt Saheed Idowu (342) 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-8)
Sam Walker bt Michel Lignandzi (843) 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-5)
England 3-0 Turkey
Liam Pitchford bt Ibrahim Gunduz (552) 3-1 (11-2, 11-7, 9-11, 11-2)
Paul Drinkhall bt Bora Vang (74) 3-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 16-14)
Daniel Reed bt Gencay Menge (288) 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-3)
Women’s Challenge Division Group F
England 3-0 Colombia
Tin-Tin Ho bt Paula Medina (192) 3-2 (8-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10)
Joanna Drinkhall bt Lady Ruano (272) 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-9)
Hannah Hicks bt Cory Tellez (unranked) 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-4)
England 3-0 Malaysia
Kelly Sibley bt Ho Ying (440) 3-0 (15-13, 11-6, 11-4)
Joanna Drinkhall bt Beh Lee Wei (141) 3-1 (12-14, 11-1, 11-2, 11-7)
Tin-Tin Ho bt Lee Rou You (300) 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-4)