The top-ranked player on the Korean men’s table tennis team, Lim Jong-hoon (26 – World No. 11), has reached the round of 16 in the men’s singles with an upset victory. Lim, who reached the round of 16 at the last edition of the tournament, will take on table tennis living legend Ma Rong (World No. 3-China) for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Lim defeated Lubomir Pice (86th-Slovakia) 4-2 (7-11 8-11 11-7 11-6 11-7 11-5) in the men’s singles round of 32 at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships 2023 at the Durban International Convention Center (DICC) in Durban, South Africa, on Friday (25). This is the second consecutive tournament that Lim has reached the round of 16 in the men’s singles, having reached the round of 16 in Houston in 2021.
After dropping the first two games, Lim battled back to win four games in a row. He jumped out to a three-point lead in game three and never relinquished the lead, while he took an early 6-2 lead in game four to level the match at 2-2.
Finding his stride, Lim rallied back from a 1-4 deficit in game five with six straight points to close the gap and take the game. He won the final game with ease to seal the match.
“I thought I was a little weak because I didn’t have much information, but I didn’t expect to lose two sets, and I played well enough to realize that it was a world tournament,” Lim said after the match. “The first two games were not because I played badly, but because my opponent played so well, but I discussed it with my coach and overcame it.”
His quarterfinal opponent is China’s Ma Long. Ma Long is a legend in his own right, having won gold medals in the men’s singles at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, becoming the first man to win back-to-back Olympic table tennis titles.
Lim faced Ma Long in the round of 16 at the 2019 Korea Open in Busan, South Korea, where he fell short in straight sets (5-11 9-11 11-7 5-11 11-8 11-9 12-14). Despite the loss, Lim put on a spectacular performance against the world number one, coming from seven games to deuce.
“It’s the World Championships, so the Chinese players are well-prepared,” Lim said, adding, “I’ve never lost to Chinese players because I was intimidated. I have the mindset that if I get intimidated and lose, I will stop playing table tennis, so I will try to play with all the strength I can muster,” he said.먹튀검증
“Last time I played against China’s Fan Zhendong (World No. 1), I lost (3 sets to 4 at the 2023 WTT Champions),” he said. “I don’t know how tomorrow’s match will go, but of course I want to win, and I’ll be even happier because it means I won the World Championships.”
Earlier in the day, Team Korea’s Jang Woo-jin (28-World No. 13) also advanced to the round of 16 in the men’s singles with a 4-0 (11-3 11-7 11-7 11-5) victory over Nigeria’s Taiwo Marty.