ITTF World Championships: World No. 2 Xu Xin stunned; Sun Yingsha edges out Mima Ito
China's Xu Xin suffered an early elimination at the men's singles but survived a tough mixed doubles quarterfinal at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday night.
Simon Gauzy, France's world No. 34, handed a surprise 4-2 (11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9) defeat to the world No. 2 Xu – the only Chinese in the second half of the draw – meaning for the first time in 16 years the championships men's singles final won't be an all-Chinese contest.
Xu, pairing up with Liu Shiwen, came from two sets down to beat South Korea's Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee 4-3 (10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7) and join the mixed doubles semifinals with unseeded Chinese duo Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning, who crushed the Hong Kong team of Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching in straight sets.
The other semifinalists are Germany's Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja and Japan's Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa.
Gauzy hailed his win over Xu as a highlight of his career.
"To be honest, I cannot describe what I feel right now," admitted Gauzy, who celebrated the victory by throwing his racket away and roaring in front of a cheering crowd.
"I just want to enjoy it tonight, as it doesn't happen so often to beat such a good player. I just want to enjoy it tonight and focus back for tomorrow."
"I respect him too much. I love to watch him play. I love his touch, feeling, forehand and style. Today I'm just happy to have beaten him," added the Frenchman.
Ma and Fan on fire
The four Chinese bundled in the first half of the draw all advanced into the round of 16.
Two-time defending champion Ma Long ousted Belarussian veteran Vladimir Samosonov 4-1, while the world top-ranked Fan Zhendong whitewashed Nigeria's Quadri Aruna 4-0. Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun also went through.
Koki Niwa and Tomokazu Harimoto, both of Japan, remain in contention, while German star Timo Boll beat Japan's Masataka Morizono to move up.
China's five representatives in the women's singles – Ding Ning, Chen Meng, Liu Shiwen, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha, all advanced into the last 16.
In the most watchable women's singles game, Sun, ranked 29th in the world, eliminated the world No. 7 Mima Ito of Japan 4-1.
Ma Long/Wang Chuqin, and Lin Gaoyuan/Liang Jingkun cruised into the men's doubles quarterfinals.
In the women's doubles, Chen Meng/Zhu Yuling and Wang Manyu/Sun Yingsha both moved into the last eight.
(Cover Photo: Frenchman Simon Gauzy celebrates as second seed Xu Xin suffers a shock round three elimination. /Courtesy of ITTF official website)