by Simon Daish
The top four seeded players in both events fought over preferential order in selecting quarterfinal opposition. Wang Manyu and Xu Xin were the two players who came away with the biggest smiles on their faces.
Wang Manyu 3-1 Chen Meng (5-0, 4-5, 5-3, 5-3)
A repeat of the recent ITTF Finals women’s singles final, but this time the outcome was very different as Wang Manyu held the upper hand over Chen Meng in an exciting all-Chinese contest.
Chen has proven one of the toughest opponents to crack for the world’s elite players for some time now, so Wang’s jaw-dropping 5-0 win in game one understandably sent shock waves throughout the arena. A crushing start, Chen proved more competitive in the following games, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Wang from earning the top pick in the draw.
Xu Xin 3-2 Ma Long (1-5, 5-2, 5-4, 3-5, 5-2)
Another encounter which was played out only recently on the big stage, Ma Long outclassed Xu Xin earlier this month in their penultimate round meeting at the ITTF Finals, but here in Macao revenge was in the air!
Just as is usually the case when the two take the to table, spectators witnessed another classic affair between Ma and Xu with twists and turns at every corner. The momentum swung rapidly with each passing game with neither player willing to leave an inch. Ultimately the full distance was required and this time it was Xu who celebrated.
Lin Gaoyuan 3-2 Hugo Calderano (2-5, 2-5, 5-3, 5-1, 5-2)
The third pick in the men’s singles race goes to China’s Lin Gaoyuan following his incredible comeback effort against Brazilian superstar Hugo Calderano.
Off to a bright start it was the Pan American who dominated the early play and looked to be well on his way to victory after establishing a two-game lead. However, Lin kept his hopes alive by claiming the crucial third game which appeared to propel him above and beyond his opponent, taking games four and five soon after to secure the win.
Ding Ning 3-1 Sun Yingsha (5-1, 5-2, 1-5, 5-2)
In the corresponding women’s singles fixture, Ding Ning secured the third quarterfinals pick with a commanding performance in her head-to-head with Sun Yingsha.
The more composed throughout, Ding was rarely troubled in the match, a statement few would have predicted with Sun standing opposite her. Sun, 20, is a player in fine form and had been expected to push her Chinese colleague close in this one, but aside from a strong showing in game three the result was never in doubt.