3rd-ranked Japan suffered a stunning loss to 16th-ranked Greece in their opening match at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo. Proving that the homecourt advantage isn’t always a good thing, the match ended at 3-2, giving the Greeks their first win of the tournament.
Jun Mizuni’s win for the first game was not enough to motivate Seiya Kishikawa and Kenta Matsudaira, who both lost. Matsudaira was leading 9-7 in the deciding game, but blunders caused him to give up four straight points. Even as Mizutani proceeded to win his second match to tie the game even, Kishikawa was not fast enough to counter Greek Kalinikos Kreanga, and he lost the match in straight games. The disappointed Kishikawa admits his errors, saying it was what led to the final result and not the pressure of playing in home soil.
Though they lost against the Greeks, Japan is still in the running to top first in the group stages. “We’ve won a medal in the past after losing in the group stage,” said Kishikawa. “We will forget about today, and just think about the next day,” he vowed. On the other hand, the Japanese women’s team won against Belarus with a 3-0 victory, a repeat of their match last Monday, when the teams composed of Kasumi Ishikawa, Sayaka Hirano and Saki Tashiro also beat United States with a 3-0 win.
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