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Chinese women advance to table tennis semifinals

Chinese women advance to table tennis semifinals

Top-ranked Zhang Yining of China outclassed her table tennis quarterfinal opponent Thursday despite not being able to play with her normal paddle, one of three players on the team to advance to the semifinals.
She beat Feng Tianwei of Singapore with a backup paddle after the umpire said Zhang's usual one did not meet regulations.
The problem might have had something to do with the thickness of the sponge layer in the paddle, Zhang said. She blamed the thin margins in the score, 13-11, 12-14, 14-12, 12-10, 13-11, on her backup paddle, which she said is smaller and difficult to hit with.
"When I came onto the court and saw it was my backup paddle, my heart almost stopped," Zhang said. "I still don't know what's going on because I still haven't seen the umpire."
Feng attacked fiercely throughout the match and had Zhang in the uncharacteristic position of playing on the defensive and making errors like hitting the ball out of bounds. High-speed rallies had spectators shouting "Piao liang!" _ "Beautiful!" _ as the ball whipped across the table.
Zhang's dominance stems in part from her stoicism during matches. When she won the third game, the crowd roared and coach Shi Zhihao jumped out of his chair pumping his arms. But Zhang calmly put her paddle on the table and walked to the bench for a drink of water.
China's Wang Nan defeated Hong Kong's Tie Yana later Thursday, while Guo Yue beat Wu Xue of the Dominican Republic 4-0. Wu also made history Thursday by reaching the quarterfinals, the best result ever for a table tennis athlete from the tiny Caribbean nation.
Earlier in the day, Wang Chen of the United States had clinched a spot in the quarterfinals _ the country's best showing ever _ after defeating South Korea's Kim Kyung-ah of South Korea 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5. After the final point in that game, Wang fell to her knees and burst into tears.
But the 34-year-old Wang could not keep up with her quarterfinal opponent, Singapore's Li Jia Wei, who is seven years younger and ranked sixth in the world. Wang lost 15-13, 11-6, 12-10, 13-15, 11-4.
"In terms of energy, I couldn't keep up. This morning wore me out and I didn't sleep this afternoon and I felt so tired," said Wang, who is ranked 23rd. "I think if I could have played this game tomorrow I could have done better."
Previously, the best finish for the U.S. was when Gao Jun reached the round of 32 in singles and doubles at the Athens Games.
In men's singles, defending gold medalist Ryu Seung-min of South Korea was eliminated in the round of 32 after losing to Hong Kong's Ko Lai Chak, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 5-11, 12-10.
Ryu has had a disappointing performance in Beijing, losing five of his eight singles matches in the team competition.
"Even though there has not been a great deal of pressure on me, I have met many strong players in this tournament," Ryu said.
All three men on the Chinese squad _ Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin _ advanced into the round of 16, as did their top threats, Timo Boll of Germany and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.


Updated : 2021-05-12 10:34 GMT+08:00