Lin Gaoyuan (L)/Lily Zhang react during the mixed doubles round of 32 match against Qiu Dang/Nina Mittelham of Germany at 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Houston, the United States on Nov. 25, 2021. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)
All Chinese paddlers advanced into the next round on the third day of the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston.
HOUSTON, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Excitement and drama continued as the World Table Tennis Championships moved into the third day of competition in Houston on Thursday.
The eye-catching joint pairs from China and the United States, Lin Gaoyuan/Lily Zhang and Kanak Jha/Wang Manyu, marched through the mixed doubles second round, as Lin/Zhang overcame a difficult start to see off 10th seeds, Germany's Dang Qiu and Nina Mittelham 3-1, while Jha/Wang eased past their Slovakian opponents 3-0.
"This was a close match, but it was fully within our expectations as our opponents were really strong. At the start, we lost some unnecessary points, but we adjusted our strategy to avoid the same mistakes," said Lin.
Lin Gaoyuan (R, front)/Lily Zhang (L, front) celebrate scoring during the match. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)
"We knew our opponents were strong, so losing the first game was completely normal. I think we were rushing a little bit. But after going back to our coaches, we tried to slow down; we didn't have to go for every single ball and just played to our strategy," Zhang said.
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.
Chinese paddlers continued to display top form on Thursday. World No.1 Fan Zhendong outclassed Frenchman Emmanuel Lebesson 4-0 to advance to the last 16, where he takes on compatriot Wang Chuqin next.
Wang Chuqin competes during the men's singles round of 32 match against Togami Shunsuke of Japan. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)
Wang claimed a 4-0 victory over Shunsuke Togami on Thursday, leaving all the Japanese male players wiped out of the singles at the Houston Worlds.
Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun, the other two Chinese male players, also managed to secure a berth in the round of 16.
In the women's singles, world No. 1 Chen Meng joined her teammates Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu, Chen Xingtong and Wang Yidi to cruise into the next round, after all of them claimed a 4-0 victory over their respective opponents.
Defending champions Wang Manyu/Sun Yingsha continued to light up the women's doubles event as they attempted to hold onto the trophy they held aloft in 2019. The Chinese pair made it short to beat Hong Kong, China's Zhu Chengzhu/Ng Wing Nam 11-7, 11-7, 11-8.
Chen Meng of China hits a return during the women's singles round of 32 match against Sarah De Nutte of Luxemburg. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)
Another Chinese female pair Chen Meng/Qian Tianyi went straight to the round of 16 as their Nigerian opponents withdrew from Thursday's match.
Fan/Wang Chuqin took down Germany's Patrick Franziska/Timo Boll 3-0, ending the road for the Germans in the men's doubles.
The shocking news on Thursday came in the men's singles as No. 4 seed Chinese Taipei star Lin Yun-Ju, rated sixth in world rankings, was knocked out after losing 4-3 to his world No. 71 opponent Lim Jonghoon of South Korea in a pulsating head-to-head.