Dubai, April 29 (IANS) Chinese male players Xu Xin and Zhang Jike and their female compatriots Liu Shiwen and Li Xiaoxia have won here their qualifying matches at the 2016 Nakheel Asian Cup.
Xu Xin, the world’s number three in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was victorious over Jung Youngsik from South Korea in four sets on Thursday. The three times Asian Cup gold medal winner Xu will face Youngsik’s countryman Less Sangsu Friday in the knockout. Xu is aiming for a fourth title to gain direct qualification to the Liebherr 2016 World Cup to be held in Saarbrucken, Germany in October, reports Xinhua.
Zhang Jike, who told Xinhua ahead of the tournament that this Asian Cup was an important test 100 days ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (August 5-21), won 3-0 against Wong Chun Ting from Hong Kong.
Zhang will encounter Chiang Hung-Chieh, ranked 72 globally, from Taiwan.
China’s women stars Liu Shiwen and Li Xiaoxia faced little resistance in the qualifying round, too. Li was victorious over Singapore’s Yu Mengyu (3-1) and Yang Haeun who suffered some pain in her legs after the match. Liu, the world’s number one in the ITTF women’s world, left the courts beating Tie Hana (Hong Kong) and Japan’s Hirano Miu.
A repetition of the standoff from last year between Liu and Singapore’s Feng Tianwei who ranks seven in the ITTF women’s list is possible.
“Of course, I’m hoping to defend my title here and qualify for the Women’s World Cup later this year,” said the 2010 world champion who was born in the North East Chinese city of Harbin and joined the Singaporean national team in 2007.
Feng will play against Hirano Miu on Friday.
The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the three-day 2016 Asian Cup mainly sponsored by Dubai developer Nakheel will take place on Friday while the final will be held on Saturday in Dubai’s World Trade Center exhibition halls.