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Host South Korea wins opening matches at table tennis worlds

Feb. 16, 2024 - 21:58 By Yonhap
Lim Jong-hoon of South Korea serves the ball to Milosz Redzimski of Poland during their teams' Group 3 match at the International Table Tennis Federation World Team Table Tennis Championships at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in the southeastern city of Busan on Friday. (Yonhap)

The host South Korea notched victories in its men's and women's opening matches at the world table tennis championships Friday.

In the first Group 3 match on the men's side at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Team Table Tennis Championships, South Korea beat Poland 3-1.

In the women's first Group 5 match, South Korea cruised past Italy 3-0.

The southeastern port city of Busan will host the competition, which will wrap up Feb. 25.

In even-numbered years, the ITTF organizes team world championships. Busan had been scheduled to host the 2020 tournament, but it was postponed multiple times before being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it won the bid for the 2024 competition.

There are 40 nations each in the men's and women's events. They have been divided into eight groups of five. After round robin action, the eight group winners will advance to the round of 16, and the remaining eight spots will be filled by the winners of the round of 32 matches between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from the groups.

Teams will each carry five players, but only three of them will be eligible to play in each match.

A team match is made up of up to five singles matches in a best-of-five format.

In the men's opening match for South Korea, Jang Woo-jin defeated Maciej Kubik 3-2 (13-15, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6), rallying after dropping the first two games.

Lim Jong-hoon then defeated Milosz Redzimski 3-1 (12-10, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4).

An Jae-hyun lost to Jakub Dyjas, but Jang Woo-jin closed out the team victory in the fourth singles match by beating Redzimski 3-0 (11-8, 11-3, 14-12).

The South Korean men will next play New Zealand on Saturday.

In the women's match, Jeon Ji-hee led off with a 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-4) win over Debora Vivarelli.

Shin Yu-bin followed that up by beating Nikoleta Stefanova 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-7). Lee Zion then made it a quick day for her team thanks to a 3-1 (11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9) victory against Gaia Monfardini.

The next match for the South Korean women will be against Malaysia on Saturday. (Yonhap)