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OLYMPICS: Taiwan table tennis player advances to round of 16

2012/07/30 21:48:26

London, July 30 (CNA) Chuang Chih-yuan, Taiwan's best hope of winning an Olympic medal in table tennis, advanced to the round of 16 in the men's singles tournament after a convincing victory Monday.

Chuang, seeded fifth in the event, defeated Daniel Zwickl of Hungary 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 to avoid the cruel fate he suffered at the Beijing Games four years ago.

Seeded seventh in the Olympic men's singles in 2008, Chuang was shocked in the round of 32 -- when the top 16 seeds play their first match -- by an unseeded opponent from Singapore in seven sets.

He made sure history would not repeat itself in his first match in London, giving Zwickl little opportunity to pull off an upset. Chuang never trailed in any set by more than a point and finished off his Hungarian opponent in an economical 23 minutes.

Chuang next faces unseeded Andrej Gacina of Croatia, who upset 16-seeded Alexander Shibaev of Russia in seven sets, Monday night London time. In the latest table tennis rankings, Chuang is ranked eighth in the world and Gacina is ranked 58th.

The 31-year-old veteran is Taiwan's only table tennis player still alive at the London Olympics. The country's two entries in the women's singles, Huang Yi-hua and Chen Szu-yu were both eliminated in the round of 32 in London Sunday night.

Huang, playing in her third Olympic Games, was whitewashed by 15th-seeded Li Qian, a Chinese transplant who now represents Poland, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3.

Chen, who needed a miraculous comeback to make it out of the second round, fell to sixth-seed Feng Tian-wei of Singapore 11-6, 11-13, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.

The Taiwanese 18-year-old, playing in her first Olympics, could have made it closer had she taken converted one of the two set points she had in the fourth set.

(By Luke Sabatier)