XINXIANG, North China, May 4 (Xinhua) — Under-18 national champion Lin Shidong came out the first unseeded player to have secured a berth to the knockout stage of the Chinese table tennis Olympic stimulation competition here on Tuesday, which is also Youth Day in China.
The 16-year-old paddler from southern Hainan province, who surprisingly rallied past world No. 2 Xu Xin in Monday’s Group B matchup of men’s singles, stormed to a straight-set win on Tuesday morning, easing past Asian Cup runner-up Yan An 11-3, 11-3, 13-11.
Though the evening session saw Lin beaten by another U18 paddler Niu Guankai 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6, the twin victories over a dual senior nationals already let him advance from the four-man group and book a place in the men’s singles quarterfinals.
“Lin’s very talented, and at the same time, very humble and willing to take suggestions. I think the best way to guide him is to give him space and time to develop his own style,” said Lin’s coach in the national team, Chen Zhenjiang.
Also serving as a trial for the World Table Tennis Grand Smashes, the Olympic simulation competition offers a chance of representing the all-time leading Chinese team in the WTT top-level tournaments to the best U18 players, as well as the top two U22 and top five overall players.
Other players who shined on Tuesday were on the women’s side as 27-year-old Liu Fei became the sole chopper to make the singles quarterfinals after defeating seeded He Zhuojia 11-4, 11-6, 11-8, adding to her previous two wins in Group H.
Women’s U18 national champ Kuai Man went close to an upset against Sun Yingsha earlier in the evening, as the 17-year-old came out the only having pulled down one set from the 2018 Youth Olympic champion but lost 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.
Beside Lin Shidong and Liu Fei, other settle-down quarterfinalists are all seeded players, namely Fan Zhendong, Wang Chuqin and Liang Jingkun in the men’s singles and Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, Zhu Yuling and Wang Yidi in the women’s event.
The remaining 16 group stage matches will be played on Wednesday morning. Enditem