by Simon Daish
Chen Xingtong 3-2 Ding Ning (10-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12)
Reining Olympic champion Ding Ning is out of the women’s singles race here in Macao following a shock 3-2 defeat at the hands of fellow Chinese compatriot Chen Xingtong, a player she chose to oppose in the quarterfinal draw.
Eighth seeded Chen looked to be staring down the barrel of defeat after finding herself two games down to Ding at the halfway point of the match but showed great character to fight her way back into the contest. Forcing a decider, Chen continued to push hard and was rewarded for her bravery, earning one of the standout victories of the event so far and with it a place in the semifinals.
Sun Yingsha 3-2 Wang Yidi (11-6, 10-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9)
Another fierce encounter between two of China’s finest, Sun Yingsha and Wang Yidi played out a thrilling head-to-head which, as anticipated, went right down to the wire.
You could feel the tension right from the early stages of the match with both players determined to book their ticket to the last four, and that reflected in the tight scoreline with neither player able to establish back-to-back game successes at any point in the tie. There could only be one winner though, and Sun held the slight edge in this one – the 20-year-old squeezed over the finish line by the smallest of margins to advance.
Lin Gaoyuan 3-1 Fang Bo (10-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5)
The first men’s singles quarterfinal of the day went to Lin Gaoyuan, who recovered well from an early deficit to see off Fang Bo.
Seeded 16th for the event, Fang had enjoyed an impressive lead-up to the match which included a stunning victory over Chinese Taipei no.5 seed Lin Yun-Ju. Making a bright start to his quarterfinal outing, Fang was eyeing up another upset in Macao, but unfortunately for him Lin Gaoyuan stood opposite. Looking to send a message of intent to his rivals, Lin produced a classy response to emerge victorious over four games.
Ma Long 3-2 Jeoung Youngsik (11-8, 11-7, 10-11, 9-11, 11-5)
Off the back of Ding Ning’s shock elimination earlier in the day, we nearly lost another Olympic champion at the quarterfinals stage with China’s Ma Long holding off a brave attempt from Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik.
The closing match of the session, there were exciting moments throughout with sensational attacking table tennis from both players. Jeoung showed great heart, recovering from two games down to take the battle to a decider, but that just appeared to motivate Ma further who stormed into a six-point lead. At 10-2, the duo treated fans to a few exhibition points before Ma completed the job.