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Chinese table tennis players march into fourth round

07-30-2012 07:33 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China's table tennis players Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia defeated their opponents in the third round of table tennis events in London, a step closer to their goal of meeting in the women's singles finals.

Top seed Ding won her Olympic debut match in 27 minutes, beating Romania's Daniela Dodean 4-0.

Ding closed the first two sets quickly, winning 11-4 and 11-3. Dodean got the upper hand briefly in the third set. The two tied four times and Ding finished the set in 11-9. The fourth set ended in 11-6.

"This is my first match so I was a little bit nervous, especially when I entered the arena. But I soon managed to control myself after the match started," said Ding.

Ding said Dodean changed her strategy after loosing two sets and she was a little slow in coping with Dodean's changes. "But it's quite normal so I wasn't worried."

Born in 1990, Ding won the women's singles title at both last year's World Championships and the World Cup. Current world No. 1, she is seen as China's best shot at gold in women's singles in London.

Ding's next opponent is Hong Kong's Jiang Huajun, world No. 20. Jiang, 28, was a former member of China's national table tennis team.

Her teammate Li had a rather intense competition with America's teen player Ariel Hsing. The young American took the second set off Li, after losing the first set 11-4. The game lasted 50 minutes and ended with Li beating Hsing 4-2.

The toughness of the match might have shocked many as Hsing, 16, ranked only 115 on the world rankings while Li ranked No. 3. But Li said she was not surprised at all.

"This is Olympics. Anything can happen. I am not the deity that can win everyone easily."

Li said she has never competed with Hsing before and only watched Hsing's game against Luxembourg's Ni Xia Lia one day before.

"She (Hsing) is young and aggressive and has quite good skills. Anyone playing against Chinese players will do their best on court."

Li said the intensity of her first match was a good start for her. "I will not be nervous in the following games."

Hsing's famous friend, U.S. billionaire Bill Gates, came to watch the competition at the ExCel Center."I'm wishing her the best of luck, but she has really great opponent. She's done really well to get this far," Gates said.

Hsing already defeated Mexico's Yadira Silva and Luxembourg's Ni Xialian in London.

Li will face South Korea's Minyoung Park on Monday.

Sunday's competitions ended with many veteran players being knocked out.

Swedish table tennis veteran Jorgen Persson Persson lost his second match 4-0 to Croatia's Andre Gacina in the men's table tennis singles, ending his seventh campaign to win an Olympic medal.

"I won't be at the next Olympics. If you can't pass the second round here there will be no chance for Rio. The game's getting quicker and quicker and everything has to come to an end. And this is the end," Persson said.

Another seven-time veteran of Olympic table tennis, Jean-Michel Saive of Belgium, also lost his second match. He was beat by Kalinikos Kreanga of Greece.

The most senior female paddler in London, Luxembourg's Ni Xia Lian was beat by 16-year-old American Ariel Hsing.

The only veteran that shone on Sunday's competitions was Spain's He Zhiwen. The 50-year-old player trailed 3-0 but fought back, trusting in his sophisticated skills and vast experience. He defeated Polland's Wang Zengyi 4-3.

The standout match in women's singles featured Poland's Natalia Partyka, an athlete who is both an Olympian and a Paralympian. Partyka lost 2-4 to Netherlands' Li Jie.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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