The opening round tie in the men’s event of the ITTF Team World Cup between Nigeria and China panned out as expected with the Olympic and World Champion humbling the African Champion 3-0.
This is the second time Asian giant will be slugging it out with the African powerhouse after their maiden meeting at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. In Japan, the Chinese side presented the trio of Ma Long, Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun against Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun.
It was Ma Long and Lin Gaoyuan that started the onslaught against the duo of Omotayo and Abiodun.
After winning the first two games 11-4, 11-5, the Nigeria pair fought back to win the third game at 11-6.
The fourth game brought out the best in the two sides but it was the Chinese won 11-9 to complete a 3-1 victory and handed Chinese a 1-0 lead.
Also, the tactical prowess of the Chinese technical crew came to fore as they decided to withdraw the duo of Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong who are familiar foes of Aruna Quadri. They however gave Liang Jingkun the baton to confront the African Champion. The tie between Jingkun and Quadri again witnessed the exchange of powerful shots from the players to the admiration of the Japanese fans inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Despite strong competition from Quadri, it was the Chinese star that had the edge with 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 win to put the overall result at 2-0.
In the third match, Omotayo came up against world number three, Lin Gaoyuan who initially was confused about the service of the Nigerian. But with some pep talk from the bench, he demystified the service and started winning points to win the match at 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 to complete the 3-0 routing of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Ting Liao has said that the group deciding match against Nigeria at the ongoing ITTF Team World Cup is very crucial to their stay in Tokyo.
The 23-year-old admitted that his team has put the 3-0 lost to China behind them as they were schooled by the Asian giant in their first group tie.
“It is obvious that the Chinese are too strong for us to play against and we just have to continue to learn from them,” he said.