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Chinese stars storm into fourth round

The top four seeds in both the men's and women's singles at the world table tennis championships duly won their third round matches in Yokohama, Japan, yesterday.

It wasn't a good day for Europe as only three men and four women advanced to the round of the last 16 with Asia once again dominating.

China's Wang Hao, Ma Lin, Ma Long and Wang Liqin, the top men's seeds, were just too strong for their rivals.

Wang Hao dashed the hopes of Slovakia's Thomas Keinath, Olympic champion Ma Lin triumphed over Portugal's Tiago Apolonia, Ma Long overpowered Croatian veteran Zoran Primorac and defending world champion Wang Liqin, a Shanghai native, disposed of Adrien Mattenet of France.

Chinese women were unstoppable, too. Top seed Zhang Yining crushed Romania's Daniela Dodean while Guo Yue made short work of Chinese Taipei's Huang I-Hua. Li Xiaoxia, the third seed, controlled everything to beat Germany's Elke Schall and Guo Yan, seeded fourth, defeated South Korean Park Yoong-sook.

The winning Europeans were Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Dane Michael Maze and Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, with Czechs Renata Strbikova and Iveta Vacenovska and Hungary's Krisztina Toth and Li Jiao of the Netherlands flying the flag for the women.

Ovtcharov nipped Hong Kong star Ko Lai Chak as Maze shut out Croatian Andrej Gacina and Gionis sent India's Sharath Kamal Achanta packing. For the women, Toth downed Spain's Zhu Fang, Strbikova subdued Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, Vacenovska eased past Slovak Eva Odorova and Li ousted Singapore's Sun Bei Bei.

South Korea's Dang Ye-seo who upset eighth-seeded compatriot Kim Kyung-ah in the day's big surprise.


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