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China's women table tennis power on in Olympic singles
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08:31, August 21, 2008

China's women paddlers proved too strong for anyone in front of them, easily reaching the last 16 of the Olympic singles competition in Beijing Wednesday.

World number one Zhang Yining, world champion Guo Yue and Grand Slam veteran Wang Nan, all among the top 16 seeds in the 77 competitors, did not take to the tables till the 1/16 round began.

Fast-attacking Zhang fought off 34th-ranked Belarussian chopper Viktoria Pavlovich 11-7, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 in a match the defending gold medalist described as fish eating.

"Playing a chopper is like eating fish," she said. "You have to be careful enough to pick out the bones one by one and wait and wait till you get the chance to attack."

In the sport of table tennis, a chopper usually gives up the initiative and returns an attack with backspin, making it hard for the opponent to continuously attack and taking as much time as necessary to tire out the opponent.

Chinese women's head coach Shi Zhihao said, "We had some special training for matches against choppers because many of our main rivals are choppers, including some Europeans, South Koreans and former Chinese."

"They are a dozen of them, but Zhang is good at dealing with choppers," he added.

Zhang will meet Japan's Ai Fukuhara in the 1/8 round beginning Thursday. The Japanese star, ranked 12th, brushed aside former Chinese Hu Melek of Turkey in the 1/16 round.

Later in the day, Wang demolished 46th-ranked Georgina Pota of Hungry 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2, while another lopsided match was played between Guo and 35th-ranked Lau Sui Fei of Hong Kong, China, with Guo winning 11-2, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.

However, the 30-year-old Wang said modestly: "At the Olympic Games we should not judge our opponents by looking at the world rankings and their usual results."

"The competition at the Olympics is more intense because everyone puts in more stringent training and preparation," she said.

"Skills and techniques are only 50 percent of the Olympic competitions, while mental strength, willpower and luck play the rest," Guo said.

She will play 15th-ranked Li Jiao of the Netherlands on Thursday, while Wang will be challenged by South Korea's 21st-ranked Park Mi-young.

On the men's side, South Korea's 25th-ranked Yoon Jae Young survived a scare from 145th-ranked Australian William Henzell who mounted gusty challenge against him in the men's singles second round. Yoon won 4-3.

Korbel Petr of the Czech Republic was brushed aside by Polish Lucjan Blaszczyk 4-2, while former Chinese He Zhiwen of Spain was outgunned by Jang Song Man of Democratic People's Republic of Korea by the same score.

Chinese men, Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin, all of whom are rated the top 16 seeds, will not appear till the third round begins.


Comments Related News
1 China 45 14 20 79
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 10 36
4 Russia 13 14 18 45
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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