Paris: Former Olympic champion and four-time World Cup winner Ma Lin became the biggest name to fall at the World Table Tennis Championships when he was upset by Japan`s Kenta Matsudaira in the men`s singles second round.
Ma was joined by fellow Chinese Hu Limei in the casualty list Thursday. But Hu has nothing to complain about because she was eliminated by teammate and defending champion Ding Ning.
The 33-year-old Ma, gold medallist at the Beijing Olympics, was overpowered by Matsudaira 5-11, 7-11, 4-11, 14-12, 7-11.
‘I had not expected to lose to him. I am in good form. But life goes on, it will affect me a lot,’ said Ma, a three-time beaten finalist.
The 58th-ranked Japanese also took a sweet revenge on his defeat four years ago at the 1999 Yokohama worlds, where he forced Ma to seven sets but lost 4-3.
Ma is playing his ninth and last world championships.
Hu Limei, who entered the draw as a qualifier, lost to Ding 2-11, 8-11, 5-11 and 2-11.
World No.1 Ding lost to Hu twice at the national qualifiers but proved too much for the 18-year-old before reaching the last 16.
‘I took advantage of her playing style because normally a chopper is slower to find the rhythm,’ Ding said.
It was apparently not a day for Hu. Earlier, she was beaten in the mixed doubles with Chen Qi by South Korean tandem Eonrae Cho and Yang Haeun. China`s other mixed doubles pair Qiu Yike/Wenjia also fell in the third round, at the hands of Jiang Tianyi and Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong.
But China still showed dominance in the day`s competition. They have six players each in the men`s and women`s singles. Despite the two defeats in the mixed doubles, they still have one pair left, former men`s singles world No.1 Wang Liqin and Rao Jingwen.