CHANGSHA, Central China, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- All-time leading Chinese suffered ups and downs in day one competitions at the year-ending table tennis Tournament of Champions, while German sensations will surprisingly match on against the hosts after superb victories in both men's and women's singles play here on Saturday.
World No. 1 and reigning world champion Wang Hao was ousted by Germany's Timo Boll in five sets late in the evening, after Beijing Olympic gold medallist Ma Lin's quarterfinal match against Dane Michael Maze was forced to decisive set earlier in the morning.
The out-of-form Wang, who was humiliated by a 4-0 defeat to Boll in the Europe vs. China team event last month, showed no trail of his in-style play which earned him the ever first world title last May in Yokohama. He tried but only saved a match point in the fifth set before eventually lost 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-3.
"There's nothing else but I were not doing well," said a disappointed Wang at a post-match press conference.
Boll, on the contrary, was happy to have beaten Wang Hao for the second time in a row. "I have improved a lot service and service receive in the last years," he said. "This helps me to beat players like Wang Hao."
"Maybe Wang Hao is mentally a little bit tired, but in a few months he'll be on the same level again," added the top-ranked European, who was the No. 4 in the sport's world governing body ITTF's latest released standings.
Sunday's men's singles semifinals will be performed between teammates as Ma Lin takes Ma Long after the younger latter beat Japan's Jun Mizutani 4-1 and Boll faces fellow German Dimitrij Ovtcharov after the rising star of Europe upset third seed Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus in full sets.
On women's part, both Chinese nationals grabbed easy wins while Singapore diva Feng Tianwei and South Korean veteran Kim Kyung Ah suffered.
Newly crowned World Cup winner Liu Shiwen thrashed Wang Yu Gu of Singapore 11-7, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 to set up a semifinal match up with Belarus chopper Viktoria Pavlovich who beat Feng in five sets, and Guo Yan, another 4-0 winner on Saturday who beat Hong Kong's Jiang Huajun, will play Germany's Wu Jiaduo after the latter outlasted Kim in full sets.
As an A-class ITTF event providing 250,000 U.S. dollars prize money, the fourth edition of Tournament of Champions attracted 16 men and women world leading players, eight for each, to the two-day competitions.