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Chinese paddlers continue winning streak at WTT Champions Incheon


Chinese paddlers dominated the WTT Champions Incheon as all seven players secured their places in the quarterfinals on Friday. 

China registered Fan Zhendong, veteran Ma Long and Liang Jingkun on the men's side, and top-ranked Sun Yingsha on the women's along with Wang Manyu, Chen Meng and Wang Yidi. Wang Chuqin, who is currently ranked as men's singles world No.1, was rested and left off the roster. 

World No. 3 and second-seeded Liang came from behind to see off Slovenian Darko Jorgic 3-1 (7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7). Olympic champion Ma got past South Korean paddler Lim Jong-hoon 3-1. Top-seeded Fan dispatched Germany's Patrick Franziska in straight sets. 

"I have played against Darko Jorgic several times before, so I prepared well for this match. I was not fully ready at the start, which led to the loss of the first game. After that I adjusted my mentality, tried to fight point by point and finally sealed the win," said Liang.

In the women's singles, top seed Sun got the better of Swedish paddler Linda Bergstrom 11-3, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11 to cruise into the quarterfinals where she will meet No. 5 seed Hina Hayata from Japan.

Sun admitted her movement at the beginning was quite good, but with the opponent's changing of tactics from the third game, she was too hasty in dealing with some crucial points. In the last game, she calmed herself down to seal the victory.

In another match, third-seeded Wang Yidi beat Romanian Elizabeta Samara 11-4, 10-12, 13-11, 11-2, and will take on Austrian paddler Sofia Polcanova next.

In the clash with Japan's Miwa Harimoto, Olympic champion Chen sealed a comfortable 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 victory. Second-seeded Wang Manyu bested Chinese Taipei player Cheng I-Ching in another straight-set victory, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6.

As the first WTT Champions Series event on the 2024 calendar, the world's top players gathered in Incheon to battle for a prize pool of $300,000, while the champions will also earn 1,000 ITTF world ranking points each.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: Wang Yidi (L) and Wang Manyu in action during the WTT Singapore Smash final in Singapore, March 17, 2024. /CFP)

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