Defending champions Ding, Zhang advance at table tennis worlds

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-5-1 10:03:18

Women's and men's singles defending champions Ding Ning and Zhang Jike both reached the fourth round after comfortable victories at the World Table Tennis Championships on Thursday.

As unrelenting as expected, Ding wiped away rising Japanese youngster Miu Hirano 4-0 while Zhang made short work of teammate Liang Jingkun 4-1.

Zhang said: "I feel good. And I think it was within my control. This is the first time that Liang participates in men's singles and it wasn't easy for him to win so smoothly in the first and second round. Just like last championships, Fan Zhendong also lost to me in the third round. Maybe young players need to accumulate experience in large-scale competitions to become better. So I also hope that Liang can enrich himself in the following training and competitions. He is young, after all."

Ding and Zhang also progressed in the doubles events as Ding paired Li Xiaoxia to beat No. 1 seeded team of Ai Fukuhara and Misako Wakamiya of Japan for the women's doubles semifinals and Zhang teamed up with Xu Xin to beat Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima of Japan to also take the men's doubles last four berth.

Elsewhere in men's singles, Ma Long, Zhang's teammate and major rival, had no trouble in beating Panagiotis Gionis from Greece 4-0.

While Zhang's doubles partner Xu survived a scare against world No. 54 Alexander Shibaev of Russia.

Xu found himself a game behind at 1-2 and within two points of going down 1-3 but he managed to claw back and win the fourth game, and then the fifth and sixth to keep his tournament alive.8

German veteran Timo Boll and Japanese star Jun Mizutani also advanced into the round of 16.

In women's singles, Ding's teammates Li, Wu Yang, Liu Shiwen, Zhu Yuling and Mu Zi are all cruising.

In mixed doubles, Xu and South Korean partner Yang Hae-un set up a final against Japan's Maharu Yoshimura/Kasumi Ishikawa after both pairs defeated respective opponents in the semifinals.

Posted in: Eye on the ball

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