Reigning TT world champion Liu suffers twin losses in ‘simulation’

Xinxiang: Reigning world champion Liu Shiwen suffered two failures in one day and was ousted from both the women’s singles and mixed doubles quarter-finals at China’s table tennis Olympic simulation here on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old player, partnering Xu Xin, was shown the door by compatriots Zhou Yu/Chen Xingtong in the mixed doubles event. The world No.7 singles player also suffered a straight-set defeat at the hands of world No. 6 Zhu Yuling, reports Xinhua.

A record five-time World Cup winner and a member of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games women’s team championship-winning squad, Liu has been reckoned as a promising prospect at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, to be held in July-August.

In Wednesday’s last-eight encounter, Liu seemed out of options when facing once-top-ranked Zhu Yuling, giving up easily 11-9, 11-3, 15-13, 11-8.

The only sparkle from Liu came at the fag end of the third set before Zhu’s coach Qiu Yike called a timeout at 14-13 in Zhu’s favour and the Sichuan native came back on the court and wrapped up the set with no hesitation.

“It was a very important timeout for me since I’d wasted several set points on my own serve,” Zhu said after the match.

“The Olympic simulation competition is the chance for me to check what I’ve learnt last year when there was no formal competition due to the pandemic,” she added.

Zhu will face world No.1 Chen Meng in the women’s singles semi-final, after the latter eased past the Liu Fei, 11-5, 11-6, 11-1, 11-7.

The other semi-final sees second seed Sun Yingsha, a 4-0 winner over Chen Xingtong, play Wang Yidi, who upset No. 3 seed Wang Manyu 4-2.