This month on TT News:
Timo Boll and Bernadette Szocs claim gold medals at Europe Top 16,
China wins 2018 Team World Cup titles, Sharath Kamal Achanta equals Indian National
Championships record and more. This video is brought to you in partnership
with Bribar, visit Bribar table tennis for all of your equipment needs including the
latest Tibhar evolution rubber range. Montreux was the host city for the 2018 Europe
Top 16 Cup where Europe’s strongest players met face-to-face looking to book their places
at this year’s individuals World Cups. Prior to the event there was a late player
withdrawal as Portugal’s Marcos Freitas pulled out of the competition due to fitness
problems, paving the way for Ukraine’s Kou Lei to be drafted in. Timo Boll impressed across both days in Switzerland
and emerged as the deserved champion, pulling off a fine four nil win against World No.1
Dimitrij Ovtcharov to lift the trophy for a sixth occasion. One of the standout players at the event was
Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, who came out on top against Vladimir Samsonov in the bronze
medal match and has been rewarded for his efforts with a guaranteed invitation for the
2018 Men’s World Cup alongside Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov. Over in the Women’s Singles draw there was
a giant shock as Romania’s Bernadette Szocs defied the odds to win her first title at
the competition. Appearing at the Europe Top 16 Cup for only
the third occasion Szocs outperformed expectations, coming out on top against defending champion
Li Jie in the final. Joining Szocs and Li at the 2018 Women’s
World Cup is Elizabeta Samara following her straight games triumph over Matilda Ekholm. The Copper Box Arena hosted the world’s best
table tennis teams as the 2018 Team World Cup arrived in London. Two trophies were on offer at the competition
with China securing both the Men’s Team and Women’s Team gold medals. One of the biggest upsets of the Men’s Team
draw came courtesy of the Brazilian team, who inflicted a 3-2 defeat on fourth seeds
Hong Kong in the group stage of the tournament. However, England was surely the surprise side
in the category as the host nation defied the odds to achieve a bronze medal finish
in front of the home crowd. Liam Pitchford was England’s star man, registering
shock victories over the likes of Japanese teenage ace Tomokazu Harimoto and Brazil’s
Hugo Calderano and also managed to pick up a game in his encounter with World No.2 Fan
Zhendong. The other bronze medal went to Korea Republic,
who narrowly lost out to Japan in the semi-finals. Facing the Japanese team in the title match
was China in a repeat of the 2016 World Team Championship Men’s Team final, and once again
it was the Chinese line-up who emerged victorious. Ma Long and Xu Xin partnered up for Team China
in the opening fixture of the final with the 2011 Men’s Doubles World champions proving
too strong for Japan’s Jin Ueda and Koki Niwa. China’s advantage was doubled after Fan Zhendong
stormed to a straight games victory over Tomokazu Harimoto before Ma Long completed the win,
coming out on top against Koki Niwa by a 3-1 scoreline. Over in the Women’s Team final it was another
China vs Japan encounter and once again there were scenes of celebration for the defending
champions. Just as seen in the Men’s Team final China
overcame opponents Japan by a 3-0 margin. Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen gave China the perfect
start to the tie with a doubles victory over Hina Hayata and Mima Ito prior to singles
wins from Zhu Yuling and Ding Ning against Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito to seal the gold
medal. Hong Kong and DPR Korea earned bronze medals
for their efforts while a special mention must go to the USA team who outperformed expectations
to reach the quarter-finals. Sharath Kamal Achanta has won yet another
Men’s Singles title at the Indian National Championships. The 35-year-old inflicted a five games defeat
upon Amalraj Anthony, to receive a record-equalling eighth Men’s Singles title at the event. Sutirtha Mukherjee was crowned Women’s Singles
champion, recovering from a match point deficit to claim a narrow victory over Manika Batra. The 2018 Commonwealth Games are just around
the corner and the host nation has finally announced its squad heading to the Gold Coast. Danish table tennis legend Michael Maze has
announced that he will return to the international scene following his retirement in 2016. European champion in 2009, Michael Maze retired
from international table tennis due to recurring injury problems but has featured at club level
in the 2017-2018 season of the European Champions League. Maze has set out a target of qualifying for
the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, stating that he is feeling fully fit and ready to get going. Sweden has agreed to take on Japan in a warm-up
match ahead of the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships. Sweden, the host nation for the World Championships,
welcome Japan to Varberg on 25th of April with the tie being played in memory of two-time
world champion Ichiro Ogimura.

Dennis Veasley

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