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China conquers women’s singles half places in table tennis worlds

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NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese paddlers continued to shine in the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, reaching the semifinals of the women’s singles all-Chinese competitions on Sunday.

World No.1 Chen Meng joined teammates Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi in the final four after outclassing their respective rivals in Saturday’s action.

Chen sent Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa 4-0 in straight games. The newly crowned Olympic champion was rarely threatened by the world’s No. 9 as she won a total of 44 points against 29 by Ishikawa in their quarterfinals. Chen will face compatriot Wang Manyu on Sunday.

Sun proved too strong for Suh Hyowon as the world No. 2 and second seed defeated the South Korean 4-0 in straights to secure her place in the semi-finals, where her teammate Wang Yidi awaits.

Wang Yidi knocked out Japan’s Mima Ito 4-1 in another game in the quarterfinals.

In the men’s singles, the world No. 1 and Chinese top division Fan Zhendong lost his opening game to compatriot Lin Gaoyuan, but kept his nerves in check to win the next four matches and confirmed his place in the semi-finals.

Liang Jingkun completed his stunning comeback win by beating Brazilian Hugo Calderano in an epic seven-game thriller 4-3 to secure his place in the next round where he will face Fan.

Earlier, Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun advanced to the semifinals in the men’s doubles after a blood-curdling battle against Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Dang Qiu, who were seeded eighth.

Lin/Liang’s compatriots Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin were stopped by the Swedish combination of Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson 3-2.

“In a competition there are winners and losers. Our opponents played better than us today,” said Fan.

In the women’s doubles, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha also faced considerable opposition in their quarterfinals. The 2019 champions had to make up for themselves early on and struggled to shake off Japanese opponents Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano, who won the full distance race. However, Wang and Sun kept their cool when they needed it most, securing the fifth and final game to advance to the final four.

Another women’s pair, Chen Meng and Qian Tianyi, also reached the semifinals after beating their South Korean rivals Choi Hyo-joo and Lee Zion 3-0.

Spain’s Alvaro Robles/Maria Xiao got into a mixed doubles hurdle in the quarterfinals. Robles and Xiao played an impressive opening match against Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, but the Chinese pair recovered well to eventually take the 3-1 victory.

China’s Lin Gaoyuan and United States’ Lily Zhang advanced to the mixed doubles semifinals after beating the second seed, France’s Yuan Jia Nan and Emmanuel Lebesson, 3-1.

Fans were made even more enthusiastic by the fact that German evergreen Timo Boll has expanded his Houston legacy after securing his passage to the men’s singles semifinals.

Boll, 40, faced a tough challenge from American Kanak Jha, who once again produced a brilliant display for the home crowd. However, after six grueling matches, Boll held the upper hand and returned to the semifinals for the first time in 10 years.

On Sunday, the semifinals in all five events are scheduled, as well as the mixed doubles final.

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