Team China have continued their sparkling form in Durban as all Chinese paddlers eased into the singles quarterfinals after the sixth day of the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships Finals.
In the men's singles, defending champion Fan Zhendong swatted aside Germany's Qiu Dang 4-0 to set up a much-anticipated date with Omar Assar, who became the first Egyptian in history to reach the last eight of the biennial tournament after securing a sensational 4-0 win over Croatian star Tomislav Pucar.
"I'm still in shock. I had a very good performance, I think definitely one of my best performances I've ever played," said an emotional Assar, whose fairy tale run goes on at the first World Championships Finals in Africa in 84 years.
"In general, it means a lot to play in Durban. It means a lot to play the World Championships in Africa," Assar added. "I felt well directly in the hall, which helped me a lot. To play such a big event in Africa it makes me proud, but to reach the quarterfinal, I’m over the sky right now."
World number two Wang Chuqin also cruised into the next round after overwhelming Portuguese Joao Geraldo in straight sets, while Liang Jingkun survived a scare to outclass Slovenian prospect Darko Jorgic 4-2.
Later in the day, world number three Ma Long made light work of South Korea's Lim Jong-hoon with a 4-0 win.
In the women's singles, Olympic champion Chen Meng edged closer to completing the full collection of major titles after beating Japanese teenager Miyuu Kihara 4-2 in an intense round-of-16 encounter.
"It was only after we tied 2-2 that I managed to calm down and ultimately win the match," observed Chen, whose trophy cabinet boasts an Olympic gold medal, Women's World Cup silverware and Grand Smash title.
"I think it's great to meet some difficulties, which can make me more focused and prepared for the next match."
Meanwhile, top seed Sun Yingsha thrashed South Korean youngster Shin Yu-bin 4-0 before Wang Manyu came from behind to dispatch Germany's Nina Mittelham 4-1.