Dusseldorf (Germany): Chinese players remained unbeatable after the first full-day competitions of the World Table Tennis Championships here.
World No. 1 Ding Ning led five Chinese women players to the last 32 and Ma Long, the men’s defending champion, spearheaded all five teammates to the second round in the men’s singles event on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Ding, also the defending champion and Olympic gold medal winner, maintained her perfect record after beating Karin Adamkova 4-0 in the second round following her straight-set victory over Daria Trigolos of Belarus in the opening round earlier in the morning.
Second seed Liu Shiwen also wasted little time while defeating Ruta Paskauskiene of Lithuania 4-0 while third seed Zhu Yuling disposed of Sarah De Nutte of Luxemburg 4-0.
Fifth seed Chen Meng defeated Lay Jian Fang of Australia 4-1 and Mu Zi, who entered the main draw as a qualifier, dropped two games before routing Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei 4-2.
Ma opened his title defence in style with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Mihai Bobocica of Italy, setting up a second round match against Anton Kallberg of Sweden, who defeated India’s Soumyajit Ghosh 4-2.
Ma’s other four Chinese teammates, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, former world champion Zhang Jike and world championships debutant Lin Chaoyuan, all advanced to the second round.
World No.3 Xu was the only Chinese player to suffer some scare en route to the victory. The 2013 World Cup champion dropped two games, including the first one, before winning 4-2 over Belarussian Tomas Polansky.
“I feel that in the first match of singles, I had trouble playing openly while the opponent was quite aggressive in his efforts. He is a young athlete that I have never played against before, so there was some potential threat in this uncertainty,” said Xu.
“By the time we got to the last game, he had a chance of winning the match but did not take control of the opportunity. His excitement on the court became more intense and wavering, especially the second round of falling behind six to one.”
Local hero and top ranked German Dimitrij Ovtcharov also fought off tough challenge from Czech Lubomir Jancarik before winning 4-2 (11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11).
Another German star Timo Boll wasted no time to dispose of Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay 4-0.
Boll, 36, who has won the German champion 11 times, then paired with Ma to beat Indian duo Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran 4-1 to reach the second round of the men’s doubles.
Boll and Ma, who were stopped in the second round two years ago in Suzhou, will next take on Chinese pair Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong.
“I think we played better today than in the first round, although the opponents are stronger. We have more harmony and fluency,” Boll said.
“I am very much looking forward to the next match. We know the Chinese pair are strong but if we want to win the champion, we need to beat all the rivals.”