An exciting series of matches was the schedule for day one of this preparatory event with no time for breaks; for the athletes it is a “deadly” setup, the single elimination matches saw the best of Chinese table tennis face each other in high intensity battles.
Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng, listed in respective top places in the men’s and women’s world rankings, were at the top of the seeding list for the mixed doubles matches that commenced play.
Facing the powerful pairing of Cao Wei and Zhang Rui, it was a much closer match than the scoreboard revealed. Cao Wei’s left-handed play saw him use the both sides of the racket equally well, while his partner Zhang Rui made sure to support him with her right handed shake-hand style.
Similar to playing combination of Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, it was an obvious training drill for the Chinese pair. Fan and Chen – superior in strength and experience – had obvious advantages and gave their opponents few opportunities (11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7) .
Another intriguing battle took place between the pairing of Xu Xin and Sun Yingsha, and compatriots Zhou Yu and Feng Yalan. Xu and Sun, playing together for the first time due to the absence of the injured Liu Shiwen, defeated Zhou and Feng 4-1 (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3) to advance to the top 8 of the mixed doubles.
In the quarter-finals, they are set to face Xue Fei and Liu Weishan, who saw off the challenge of the “double-cut partner” Hou Yingchao and Liu Fei 4-2 (10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7) in the first round.
In the other matches, Liang Jingkun and Gu Yuting defeated Zhang Yudong and Li Jiayi, Xu Chenhao and Wang Yidi saw off Fang Bo and Zhang Qiang, Wang Chuqin and Wang Manyu won against Yu Ziyang and Muzi, Zhou Qihao and Chen Ke won versus Zhao Zihao and Chen Xingtong, while Lin Gaoyuan and Sun Mingyang fought hard to beat Liu Dingshuo and Qian Tianyi with a short advantage of two points.
Earlier in the morning, the most exciting singles group match was between young prodigy Gao Yang, who faced Quan Kaiyuan. Quan went 2-0 up before being tied level by Gao, and then he suffered a serve penalty in the deciding game, where he was leading 8-4. Gao caught up to 8-all, and finally he withstood the pressure to secure the final three points. This was another feather in the cap of the Chinese team’s freshmen coming through.
Mixed Doubles first-round Results
Fan Zhendong/Chen Meng 4-1 Cao Wei/Zhang Rui (11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7)
Liang Jingkun/Gu Yuting 4-2 Zhang Yudong/Li Jiayi (10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3, 12-14, 11-8)
Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi 4-2 Fang Bo/Zhang Qiang (11-6, 8-10, 11-4, 8-10, 14-12, 12-10)
Wang Chuqin/Wang Manyu 4-1 Yu Ziyang/Muzi (11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6)
Xu Xin/Sun Yingsha 4-1 Zhou Yu/Feng Yalan (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3)
Lin Gaoyuan/Sun Mingyang 4-3 Liu Dingshuo/Qian Tianyi (11-5, 11-1, 8-11, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9)
Xue Fei/Liu Weishan 4-2 Hou Yingchao/Liu Fei (10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7)
Zhou Qihao/Chen Ke 4-1 Zhao Zihao/Chen Xingtong (8-12, 11-6, 11-7, 14-12, 11-7)
Mixed Doubles Quarter-final Fixtures
Fan Zhendong/Chen Meng vs Liang Jingkun/Gu Yuting
Xu Chenhao/Wang Yidi vs. Wang Chuqin/Wang Manyu
Zhou Qihao/Chen Ke vs Lin Gaoyuan/Sun Mingyang
Xue Fei/Liu Weishan vs Xu Xin/Sun Yingsha
Mixed Doubles Semifinals
Mixed Doubles Semifinals