Reigning champion Zhang Jike of China eased through to the last 16 of the World Table Tennis Championships in Paris on Friday after seeing off compatriot Fan Zhendong.
The fourth seed and Olympic title-holder cruised to an 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 victory over world No. 38 Fan to set up a fourth-round meeting with Robert Gardos.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Xu Xin made short work of Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, sweeping aside his opponent 11-8, 11-0, 11-8, 11-7 to earn another shot at Portuguese opposition in the form of Marcos Freitas in the next round.
Second seed Ma Long beat Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic 11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8, while 2009 champion Wang Hao moved comfortably through to round four after coasting past Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan 11-7, 11-5, 11-2, 10-12, 11-3.
Top European Timo Boll of Germany fended off a gritty display from Sweden’s Jens Lundqvist, 61 places below him in the rankings, to advance 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8. London Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij Ovtcharov joined compatriot Boll in the next round after defeating Hong Kong’s Tang Peng.
Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira followed up Thursday’s shock victory over veteran Chinese star Ma Lin by battling past Chiang Hung-chieh, but there was better news for Taiwan as sixth-ranked Chuang Chih-yuan stayed in the hunt after knocking out South Korean Cho Eonrae.
Taiwan’s Chen Chien-an lost to Singapore’s Gao Ning 13-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9
Earlier, defending women’s champion Ding Ning cruised into the quarter-finals of with a 11-8, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 whitewash of South Korea’s Park Seong-hye.
The top seed was to meet Ri Myong-sun in the last eight yesterday after the North Korean overpowered Liu Jia of Austria.
Second-ranked Liu Shiwen also advanced untroubled, making light work of South Korea’s Seo Hyowon as the two-time World Cup winner coasted to an 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 victory.
Reigning Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia emerged triumphant in her duel with compatriot Chen Meng as she won 11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9 to set up another all-Chinese affair with Wu Yang, who defeated North Korean Kim Hye-song, in the quarters.
Olympic bronze medalist Feng Tianwei of Singapore, the highest non-Chinese entrant in the women’s draw, saw off a plucky display from world No. 89 Tetyana Bilenko of Ukraine to prevail 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9.
Zhu Yuling was locked in a titanic sixth-game battle with Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun, before eventually progressing 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 21-19.
Zhu appeared to be on the cusp of a last-eight berth up 9-3 in the fifth game, but the 18-year-old wilted badly and allowed her opponent to rack up eight straight points to stay in the match. World No. 7 Shen Yanfei of Spain lost to Melek Hu of Turkey 6-11, 13-15, 11-9, 13-11, 11-5, 11-6.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER