A South Korean mixed doubles team defeated a unified Korean pair at an international table tennis tournament here on Thursday.
South Korea's Lee Sang-su and Jeon Ji-hee defeated Choe Il (North Korea) and Yoo Eun-chong (South Korea) 3-1 (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11) in the round of 16 at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Platinum Korea Open in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul.
Against the third-seeded South Korean pair at Chungmu Sports Arena, the unified team played a surprisingly tight match. Lee and Jeon are ranked No. 7 and No. 30 in the world, while Choe is No.154 and Yoo is No. 71.
Yoo Eun-chong of South Korea (top left) and Choe Il of North Korea compete against Lee Sang-su (bottom left) and Jeon Ji-hee of South Korea in the mixed doubles round of 16 match at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Platinum Korea Open at Chungmu Sports Arena in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on July 19, 2018. (Yonhap)
Choe and Yoo jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first game, but the South Koreans answered with three straight points. Lee proved too strong for the unified team to handle as South Korea took the opening game 11-5.
The unified side built a 5-2 lead in the second game and then went up 9-6. South Korea cut it to 10-9, but the joint tandem won 11-9 on an unforced error by Jeon.
The third game was another back-and-forth affair. The teams traded points until South Korea went up 8-5. Choe and Yoo got to within 8-7, but South Korea scored three unanswered points to win the game.
Choe and Yoo squandered an 8-6 advantage in the fourth game, allowing Lee and Jeon to pull to a 9-9 tie. The decisive game went to a deuce, and Lee came through down the stretch for a 13-11 win that sealed the match.
Also in the mixed doubles on Thursday, Lim Jong-hoon-Yang Ha-eun of South Korea knocked out Sathiyan Gnanasekaran-Manika Batra of India 3-1 (10-12, 11-7, 11-2, 14-12). (Yonhap)