Mutti on a mission! After Pletea, Li goes down: it’s quarterfinals

The home guy sends the fans crazy by accessing the quarterfinals. Japan surprisingly out of Men’s top-8. Reigning World Champion Shi Xunyao down in Girls’ round of 16

02 december 2017

Riva del Garda is dreaming with the World Table Tennis Championships. Italy’s Matteo Mutti is on a mission, beating all odds to earn a spot among the top-8 players in the tournament, first playing down the chances of Europe’s #1, Romania’s Cristian Pletea, and then beating Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yang (Taipei), both 4:3. Mutti is now due to play #1 seeded, China’s Xue Fei, at 17.30 CET: that’s as steep as it gets for the Mantua-born, but the Italian is clearly on his day.

Another major surprise was delivered by Sweden’s Truls Moregard, who eliminated the #2 seed, Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, by 4:2. Europe brought three players into the top-8: along with Mutti and Moregard, Belgian Florian Cnudde seized the opportunity of the forfeit of #4 seed Lin to confidently move forward to the final 8. All of China’s top seeds – Xue Fei, Niu Guankai, Xu Haidong and Wang Chuqin – made it to the quarterfinals, as did South Korea’s An Jaehyun (#8). Unexpectedly, Japan was left with no players in the decisive phase of the event.

The Girls’ tournament already lost its title holder: China’s Shi Xunyao left the tournament in the round of 32, against Spain’s Xuan Zhang (4:1) – who brought the only European flag into the final 8. Number 4 seed Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico was also defeated in the round of 16 by Japanese outsider Mitsuho Kimura (4:1), while the top-seeded European player, Adina Diaconu of Romania, fell by the hand of Hong Kong’s Wing Sze Chau, who had already eliminated another high-seeded player in Belgian Lisa Lung in the round of 64. Now she is due to clash with the Tournament’s #2, Wang Manyu of China.

Lorenzo Falangone

Photo: Li Hsin-Yang & Matteo Mutti
Credits: Remy Gros