(LEAD) S. Korean men, women reach quarterfinals at table tennis worlds

SEOUL, The host country South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals in both the men's and women's tournaments at the ongoing world table tennis championships Wednesday, securing Olympic berths in the process. The South Korean men beat India 3-0 in the round of 16 in the men's competition at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan. Earlier Wednesday in the women's competition, South Korea defeated Brazil 3-1 in the round of 16. By qualifying for the quarterfinals, both men's and women's teams have secured a spot in the Paris Olympics for this summer. In the team tournament, each match is made up of up to five singles matches in a best-of-five format. Teams are each carrying five players, but only three players can play in each match. If a match goes the distance, two players will each play twice. In the men's match, South Korea beat India for the second time this week, after getting past the same opponent 3-0 during the group stage Monday. As he had d one so on Monday, world No. 14 Jang Woo-jin defeated Harmeet Desai 3-0 (12-10, 13-11, 11-7). In the first game, Jang blew a 10-7 lead to let Desai pull even at 10-10, before winning the next two points. The next game went to deuce again after a back-and-forth battle, before Jang grabbed the final two points for the narrow win. Jang then closed out Desai with a 5-1 run in the third game. Lim Jong-hoon, ranked 18th, then defeated Sharath Kamal Achanta 3-1 (11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4). After losing the first two games, Achanta stayed alive by taking the third game. But in the fourth game, Lim never trailed and won comfortably. Lee Sang-su, world No. 27, finished off India by making quick work of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran by 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-2). In the second game, Lee rallied from an 8-4 deficit and reeled off seven consecutive points after a timeout, and then cruised to an 11-2 win in the deciding game. South Korea will play either Slovenia or Denmark in the quarterfinals. In even-numbered years, the ITTF ho lds the team world championships. South Korea won bronze at the last men's team competition in 2022. In the women's match, South Korean leadoff Shin Yu-bin, the team's highest-ranked player at No. 8, dropped the opening singles match, with Bruna Takahashi beating her 3-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8). Down 2-1 in the game score, Shin fought back to take the fourth game, winning eight of the match's final 11 points. The two were knotted at 6-6 in the fifth game, but Shin only mustered two more points the rest of the way. Jeon Ji-hee, world No. 21, then turned the momentum around in South Korea's favor, as she shut down Giulia Takahashi 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-2). Jeon won the final four points of the second game and then turned a 4-2 lead into an 11-2 win in the third game. Lee Zion, ranked 44th, gave South Korea the lead after beating Bruna Alexandre 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-4). Lee was also dominant in the home stretch, riding an 8-1 run to cap off her victory. Jeon finished off Brazil in the fourth singles match, as she beat Bruna Takahashi 3-0 (11-7, 11-1, 11-3). Jeon erased an early 4-1 deficit in the first game and didn't trail in each of the next two games while conceding just four points combined. Next up for the women's team will be China, the world's premier ping pong powerhouse going for its 14th title in 15 world championships. The five players for China are ranked first through fourth and then sixth in the world rankings: Sun Yingsha, Wang Yidi, Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Chen Xingtong. The women's quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in the southeastern city. South Korea has not won a women's team medal since 2012. Source: Yonhap News Agency