XINXIANG, North China, May 5 (Xinhua) — Reigning world champion Liu Shiwen suffered two failures in one day, being ousted from both the women’s singles and mixed doubles quarterfinals at China’s table tennis Olympic simulation here on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old was shown the door out after losing 4-2 to national teammates Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong in the mixed doubles event, partnering with Xu Xin, before the world No. 7 singles paddler suffered straight-set defeat by world No. 6 Zhu Yuling in the evening.
A record five-time world cup title holder and a member of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games women’s team championship winning squad, Liu has been reckoned a promising prospect to represent China at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
In Wednesday’s last eight encounter, Liu seemed out of options when facing once-top-ranked Zhu Yuling, giving up easily 11-9, 11-3, 15-13, 11-8.
The only sparkle from Liu came in the tail of the third set before Zhu’s coach Qiu Yike called a timeout at 14-13 in Zhu’s favor and the Sichuan native came back to the court and wrapped up the set with no hesitation.
“It’s a very important timeout for me since I’ve wasted several set points in my own serve,” Zhu said after the match.
“The Olympic simulation competition is the chance for me to check what I’ve learnt last year when there was no formal competitions due to the pandemic,” she added.
Zhu will face world No.1 Chen Meng in the women’s singles semifinals, after the latter eased past the sole chopper in the last eight, Liu Fei, 11-5, 11-6, 11-1, 11-7.
The other semifinal sees second-seed Sun Yingsha, a 4-0 winner over Chen Xingtong, play Wang Yidi, who upset No. 3 seed Wang Manyu 4-2 on Wednesday evening.
On the men’s side, world No. 1 Fan Zhendong beat Lin Shidong 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6 to put an end to the 16-year-old sensation’s giant-killing run, after beating world best pen-holder Xu Xin and another established paddler Yan An in the group stage.
Fan will meet Wang Chuqin in the semis after Wang ousted Xu Chenhao 4-1, while Olympic and world champion Ma Long will face Zhou Qihao in the other semifinal.
Earlier on Wednesday, Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin, both having participated in the previous Olympics in Rio, lost the mixed doubles quarterfinal 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 16-14, 11-8 to Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong.
Zhou/Chen will next play Lin Gaoyuan and Zhang Rui, who upset the third seeds Wang Chuqin and Wang Manyu 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.
The other semifinal matchup on Thursday morning will pit Ma Te/Liu Fei, winners over Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi 4-0, against the second seeded Liang Jingkun/Sun Yinsha, who beat Zhu Linfeng/Zhu Yuling, also in four straight sets. Enditem