By Henry Chen
Bayi wins face-off against Shanghai
The most anticipated match for the third round of the men’s division is the battle between Bayi and Shanghai. Both are powerful and have been undefeated this season. But after today’s round, one of them will have to experience defeat for the first time.
As hosts, Bayi posted a positive start. Fan Zhendong recorded a sweep win against Zheng Rongzhi. Shanghai quickly levelled themselves in 1-1 with a victory from Xu Xin. He scored 3-1 against Zhou Kai. Bayi established their lead in the Doubles with their pairing Zhou Yu and Xu Chenhao surviving in 2-0.
The most awaited match was between Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin. In just three games, the teenage team leader of Bayi overpowered Xu Xin. Fan Zhendong sealed the victory for Bayi in 11-5, 11-5, 11-6.
Jiangsu records first victory in own court
The hosts, Jiangsu Team, had a powerful player for the opening match. He was the veteran from Chinese Taipei, Chuang Chih Yuan. He faced a much younger player from Bazhou, Liang Jingkun. Both battled hard, wanting to give the first advantage to their respective teams.
At the end of a full-stretched match, Chuang Chih Yuan was defeated in 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 10-12, 1-7. Jiangsu got their first point in the second match after Zheng Peifeng overcame the challenge from Wang Chuqin in 3-2.
The host then established their lead in the Doubles. Their pair Kong Lingxuan and Cai Wei won in 2-1. Sealing their victory was the 3-1 win from Zheng Peifeng. He defeated Liang Jingkun.
Shandong Weiqiao on their third victory
Shandong Weiqiao is establishing their momentum in the competition this year. Today, they recorded another success. Lin Gaoyuan started off with a 3-1 win against Liu Dingshuo from Tianjin. Ma Long followed with a 3-0 sweep against Fang Yinchi (18-16, 11-9, 11-7).
Tianjin got their first point in the match following the survival from Fang Yinchi and Wei Shihao. Ma Long returned into the arena and concluded it with a 3-0 sweep against Liu Dingshuo.
Sichuan defeated in own arena
Despite a home game, Sichuan was not able to use their advantage well. The hosts actually had a promising start. Their first player Zhu Linfeng won the opening match against Liu Jikang in 3-1. This is the first defeat of Liu Jikang this season.
Xu Ruifeng also had his chances in the second match against Cui Qinglei. However, at the end of five games, the guest Cui won. After which, Shenzhen had the momentum. Their tandem, Cui Qinglei and Ren Hao crushed their way in the Doubles.
Liu Jikang returned into the arena and redeemed himself from his earlier loss. He swept Xu Ruifeng in 11-8, 11-6, 11-9.
Shandong Luneng withstood challenging battle
After two victories this season, Shandong Luneng had a challenging battle today against Anhui, despite the home-court advantage. Fang Bo’s poor performance today clearly affected the overall result. Fang Bo lost to Yu Ziyang in the second match and fought hard against the foreign aide Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong.
Wong Chun Ting had his opportunities but at the end of a full-stretched battle, he was overcame in 2-3.
Their match led to the decider with Zhang Chao playing against Zhou Qihao. Immediately, the guest was in control and got the opening advantage. Zhang Chao levelled himself in the second game, forcing a decider. After a close encounter, Zhang Chao saved Shandong Luneng in 2-1.