In a highly anticipated match-up between two Chinese players, Lin Gaoyuan defeated Liang Jingkun in the men’s last-16 tie at the WTT Singapore Smash on Wednesday.
Lin, the world number two, defeated Liang 4-2 in a closely fought encounter that saw both players showcase their exceptional skills and athleticism. Despite a strong start from Liang, Lin was able to dominate the match with his powerful forehand shots and solid defense.
The first game saw both players exchange early points before Lin took control with a series of aggressive forehand attacks. Liang was able to respond with some well-placed backhand shots, but ultimately it was Lin who took the game 11-8.
In the second game, Liang came out strong, taking an early lead and putting Lin under pressure with some powerful forehand shots. Despite a brief comeback from Lin, Liang was able to hold on and take the game 11-9.
The third game saw Lin regain control, using his powerful forehand to dominate the exchanges and take the game 11-7. Liang fought back in the fourth game, showing excellent touch and precision to take the game 11-8 and level the match at 2-2.
However, it was Lin who was able to maintain his composure and take control in the final two games. His powerful forehand shots and solid defense proved too much for Liang, and he was able to win both games comfortably, taking the match 4-2.
The victory sees Lin progress to the quarter-finals of the men’s singles competition, where he will face the winner of the match between Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Japan’s Koki Niwa.
Speaking after the match, Lin said he was pleased with his performance, but acknowledged the challenge presented by his compatriot.
“Liang is a tough opponent, and he played really well today,” he said. “I had to stay focused and play my best to win. I’m happy with how I played, and I’m looking forward to the next round.“
Liang, meanwhile, said he was disappointed with the result, but proud of his performance.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to lose, but I think I played well and gave it my best,” he said. “Lin is a great player, and I knew it was going to be a tough match. I’ll learn from this and come back stronger next time.”
The WTT Singapore Smash is part of the new World Table Tennis (WTT) series, which aims to modernize and professionalize the sport. The tournament features some of the world’s best players, including Chinese stars Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng, as well as Japan’s Mima Ito and Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
The event is being held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and is taking place under strict COVID-19 protocols, with no fans allowed in the venue. However, fans around the world are able to follow the action live, with the tournament being broadcast in more than 100 countries.