China’s Qian Tianyi stunned world No. 5 Mima Ito of Japan through full sets, while reigning champion Chen Meng and world No.3 Wang Yidi failed to reach the women’s singles last 16 at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Singapore Smash on Monday.
Qian, ranked 22nd in the world, saved two match points en route to a 12-10 win in the deciding set.
“I kept my tenacity in the game. Whether I led or trailed, I just stayed composed,” the 23-year-old explained, “… when she caught up and tied with me at 2-2, I thought it was normal. I was prepared for such situation before the game.”
Qian will take on French veteran Yuan Jianan, who eliminated another Chinese paddler Fan Siqi 3-1.
Elizabeta Samara celebrates after defeating defending champion China’s Chen Meng in the women’s singles event at the Singapore Smash in Singapore, March 13, 2023. /CFP
Another full-set match went the other way for Olympic champion Chen, world No. 2, who lost the deciding set 11-8 to 34-year-old veteran Elizabeta Samara of Romania. China’s Wang Yidi was also out of contention after falling 3-2 to Miu Hirano of Japan.
Chen and Wang will continue their journey in the women’s doubles event, together with another Chinese duo Sun Yingsha/Wang Manyu.
Also on Monday, Zhang Rui dispatched Georgina Pota of Hungary 3-1, and Chen Xingtong eased past Jeon Ji-hee of South Korea in straight sets.
Chinese player Lin Gaoyun competes in the men’s singles at the Singapore Smash in Singapore, March 13, 2023. /CFP
In the men’s side, Chinese paddlers seem to be on course, as top seed Fan Zhendong swept Tiago Apolonia of Portugal 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, leading other three Chinese players into singles last 16.
Lin Gaoyuan edged Jang Woo-jin of South Korea 3-2, Wang Chuqin sailed past Canada’s Eugene Wang 3-0, and WTT Star Contender Goa winner Liang Jingkun continued his favorable form to eliminate Feng Yi-Hsin of Chinese Taipei 3-0.
Fan also paired with Wang Manyu to defeat Romanian duo Ovidiu Ionescu/Bernadette Szocs 3-2 to reach the mixed doubles quarterfinals. Top seed Wang Chuqin/Sun Yingsha also entered the last-eight after beating Lubomir Pistej/Barbora Balazova of Slovakia 3-0.