On Saturday afternoon, former World and Olympic champion Kong Linghui pointed at the pre-quarterfinal results of the men’s singles and said, “the gulf between the between Chinese and the rest of the players in the continent is surely narrowing. Three of our male quarterfinalists needed seven games to move ahead.”
By the evening, these observations appeared to have come a bit too soon as the charged up Chinese players monopolised the singles semifinals spots of the 19th Asian table tennis championship at the UP Badminton Academy hall here.
On a day when the Indians predictably lost in the men’s and women’s doubles, the all-China mixed doubles’ final threw up top seed Ma Long and Li Xiaoxia as champions at the expense of Zhang Jike and Ding Ning. Later, these players joined their teammates in the singles semifinals.
Three-time world champion Wang Liqin, seeded two, knocked out last edition’s bronze-medallist Hong Kong’s Ko Lai Chak 12-14, 11-3, 11-3, 9-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-9 in the closest match of the day.
Xu Xin and Zhang Jike also needed seven games to reach the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal clash between Xu Xin and Japan’s Jun Mizutani managed to reproduce only a part of their memorable clash seen in Thursday’s team final with a better-prepared Chinese winning in five games.
Late on Friday night, Sharath Kamal and DPR Korea’s Kim Jong were named the Most Valuable Players of the First Division of the championship and awarded $1000 by Stag International.
The results (prefix denotes seeding):
Men’s singles (quarterfinals): Ma Long (Chn) bt Kenta Matsudaira (Jpn)11-4, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3; Xu Xin (Chn) bt Jun Mizutani (Jpn) 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2; Zhang Jike (Chn) bt Cheung Yuk (Hkg) 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6; Wang Liqin (Chn) bt Jang Song Man (DPRK) 9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6.
Women’s singles (quarterfinals): 1-Li Xiaoxia bt 8-Jiang Huajun (Hkg) 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5; 13-FanYing (Chn) bt Wu Yang (Chn) 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6; 6-Ding Ning bt 3-Kim Kyung Ah (Kor) 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9, 12-14, 3-11, 11-4; 2-Liu Shiwen (Chn) bt 7-Wang Yue Gu (Sin) 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9.
Men’s doubles (quarterfinals): 1-Wang Liqin and Zhang Jike (Chn) bt Seo Hyun Deok and Kim Min Seok (Kor) 11-4, 11-5, 13-11; 4-Li Ching and Cheung Yuk (Hkg) bt 5-Jun Mizutani and Seiya Kishikawa (Jpn) 11-5, 11-8, 14-12; Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa bt 3-Jiang Tianyi and Tang Peng (Hkg) 11-7, 14-12, 12-10; 2-Ma Long and Xu Xin (Chn) bt 7-Chuang Chih-Yuan and Wu Chih-Chi (Tpe) 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6; (pre-quarterfinals, involving Indians): Liqin and Zhang bt Soumyadeep Roy and Zubin Kumar 11-6, 11-3, 11-6; Jiang and Tang bt Sharath Kamal and Sourav Chakraborty 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.
Women’s doubles (quarterfinals): 1- Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia (Chn) bt Kim Jong (DPRK) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4; Dang Ye Seo and Park Young Sook (Kor) bt 4-Jiang Huajun and Tie Ya Na (Hkg) 12-10, 11-8, 11-8; 3-Kim Kyung Ah and Park Mi Young (Kor) bt Sayaka Hirano and Reiko Hiura (Jpn) 17-15, 11-4, 11-8; 2-Feng Tianwei and Wang Yue Gu (Sin) bt Fan Ying Wu Yang (Chn) 11-6, 11-7, 14-12; (pre-quarterfinal, involving Indians): Jiang and Tie beat Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3.
Mixed doubles (final): 1-Ma Long and Li Xiaoxia (Chn) bt 6-Zhang Jike and Ding Ning (Chn) 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9; (semifinals): Ma and Li bt 4-Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen (Chn) 11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7; Zhang and Ding bt 10-Seiya Kishikawa and Ai Fukuhara 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 .