Sun, 23 Jan 2022

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NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese paddlers continued to shine in the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships held in Houston, making the semifinals of women's singles on Sunday all-Chinese contests.

World No.1 Chen Meng joined teammates Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi in the last four, after they outclassed their respective rivals in Saturday's action.

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

Sun proved to be too strong for Suh Hyo-won as the world No. 2 and second seed took down the South Korean in straight games 4-0 to book her place in the semifinals, where her teammate Wang Yidi awaits.

Wang Yidi eliminated Japan's Mima Ito 4-1 in another quarterfinal clash.

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In the men's singles, world No.1 and top seed Fan Zhendong of China lost his opening game against compatriot Lin Gaoyuan but steadied his nerves to win the next four games and confirmed his place in the semifinals.

Liang Jingkun completed his stunning comeback win by defeating Brazil's Hugo Calderano in an epic seven-game thriller 4-3 to seal his place in the next round, where he will play against Fan.

Earlier, men's doubles top seeds Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun squeezed into the semifinals following a nail-biting battle against Germany's Benedikt Duda and Dang Qiu, seeded eighth.

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

"In a competition, there are winners and losers. Our opponents played better than us in today's match," said Fan.

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In the women's doubles, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha also encountered significant opposition in their quarterfinals. The 2019 champions were forced to make up early ground and struggled to shake off Japanese opponents Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano, who took the match the full distance. However, Wang and Sun kept their composure when they needed it the most, securing the fifth and final game to progress to the last four.

Another female pair Chen Meng and Qian Tianyi also romped into semifinals after a 3-0 victory over their South Korean rivals Choi Hyo-joo and Lee Zion.

Spain's Alvaro Robles and Maria Xiao suffered a mixed doubles exit at the quarterfinal hurdle. Robles and Xiao took an impressive opening game in their head-to-head against Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, but the Chinese pair recovered well and eventually took a 3-1 victory.

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China's Lin Gaoyuan and Lily Zhang of the United States were through to the mixed doubles semifinals following a 3-1 victory over second seeds Yuan Jia Nan and Emmanuel Lebesson of France.

Making fans even more excited was that Germany's evergreen Timo Boll extended his legacy in Houston after securing his passage to the men's singles semifinals.

Boll, 40, faced a stern challenge from America's Kanak Jha, who produced another brilliant display in front of the home crowd. However, after six grueling games, Boll held the upper hand and returned to the semifinals for the first time in 10 years.

Sunday will feature the semifinals in all five events as well as the mixed doubles final.

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