Chinese paddlers display top form at table tennis worlds as quarterfinals loom

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HOUSTON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Excitement ran high on the fourth-day competition of the World Table Tennis Championships held here on Friday.

Chinese paddlers continued to show prowess with almost all of them sealing a place in the quarterfinals.

Top seeds and world No. 1s Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng ousted their respective rivals in the men's singles and women's singles competitions to march into the last eight.

Fan beat compatriot Wang Chuqin 4-2 and will play another teammate Lin Gaoyuan at the quarterfinals scheduled on Saturday.

Another male paddler Liang Jingkun broke English hearts by ending the hopes of Liam Pitchford in an epic seven-game thriller in which the Chinese won 4-3. Liang will take on third seed Hugo Calderano from Brazil in the next round.

Chen had a tougher battle at hand against former Asian champion Miu Hirano. Their battle for supremacy went the full distance to seven games, and it was Chen who eventually came up tops by defeating her Japanese rival 4-3.

Sun Yingsha cruised into the last eight, while her teammates Wang Manyu and Chen Xingtong will play each other at the women's singles quarterfinals on Saturday.

Wang Yidi outclassed Japan's Hina Hayata 4-2 to the next round, where she will take on third seed Mima Ito, Hayata's compatriot.

Defending champions Wang Manyu/Sun Yingsha have been awarded quarterfinal tickets at the women's doubles, as they attempted to hold onto the trophy they held aloft in 2019. Sixth seeds Petrissa Solja/Shan Xiaona saved multiple game points to steal the opening game and refused to back down against the title favorites. However, Wang/Sun held their nerve and went on to recover an important 3-1 win, 16-18, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9.

Another Female combination Chen Meng/Qian Tianyi also progressed to the last eight, after a 3-1 victory over Slovakian Barbora Balazova/Hana Matelova.

Spain's Alvaro Robles and Romania's Ovidiu Ionescu, the 2019 runners-up, failed to replicate their heroics in Houston. The duo's journey in the men's doubles at the 2021 Worlds was halted after losing to their Chinese opponents Fan Zhendong/Wang Chuqin 3-1.

Lin Gaoyuan/Liang Jingkun also moved into the last eight, after beating their French rivals Emmanuel Lebesson/Alexandre Cassin 3-0.

In the mixed doubles, Wang Chuqin/Sun Yingsha secured a berth in the next round, after taking down their opponents Chen Chien-An/Chen Szu-Yu of Chinese Taipei 3-1.

The closely-watched joint pairs from China and the United States, Lin Gaoyuan/Lily Zhang and Kanak Jha/Wang Manyu, had different fates on Friday.

Lin/Zhang dispatched Russian pair Kirill Skachkov/Olga Vorobeva 3-1, winning their tickets to the quarterfinals, while Jha/Wang were stopped by Indian duo Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/Manika Batra 3-2.

The two combinations, who carry on the spirit of Ping-Pong Diplomacy initiated between the two nations half a century ago, were confirmed to enter the draw by the sport's world governing body ITTF on Sunday and had just trained together once on the eve of the Worlds' opening. Enditem

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