Philippine table tennis players shock foes, keep Olympic hopes alive

Philippine table tennis players shock foes, keep Olympic hopes alive

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Rose Jean Fadol and John Mari Nayre stunned their higher-ranked foes Sunday night to remain in the hunt in the World Table Tennis Singles Olympic qualifying tournament in Doha, Qatar.

Both ranked only outside the top 500 in the world by the International Table Tennis Federation, Fadola and Nayre showed grit and stunned World No. 71 Debora Viverelli of Italy, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, No. 68 Lubomir Pistej of Slovakia, 7-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3, 11-9, respectively.

Fadol, a Southeast Asian Games veteran, thus advanced to the semis against World No. 32 Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine while Nayre arranged a quarters duel with Niagol Stoyanov of Italy.

For Fadol and Nayre to make it to Tokyo, they must top their respective groups in this three-day event that drew 133 participants.

Fadol is bracketed in the second of the four of the 60-player women's groups while Nayre in the first of the three 73-player men's brackets.

A total of five Olympic slots are staked in women’s and by making the semis, Fadol is guaranteed second chance to claim a berth in the quadrennial event even if she loses in the semis or the finals as long as she the tops group consisting of the losing finalists and all semifinalists for that fifth and last slot to Tokyo.

Nayre, a 20-year-old World Youth Olympics veteran, will have that same privilege as Fadol if he could beat Stoyanov and advance to the semis for one of the four men's seats.

Fadol opened her campaign by thrashing Qatari Aia Mohamed, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5, while Nayre eliminated Latvian Daniels Kogans, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-2, in the round-of-32.

The country's other bets, John Russell Misal and Jannah Romero, were shown the door by Hungarian Bence Majoros, 5-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11 and Serbian Sabina Surjan, 8-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, respectively.

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