Ma Long of China in action during the 2020 ITTF German Open, Magdeburg, Germany, January 31, 2020. (Photo: CGTN)
The 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open kicked off in Doha on Thursday, where traditional powerhouse China showcased its good form.
In the women's round of 32, world number one Chen Meng faced Japan's Honoka Hashimoto. Despite her much higher ranking, Chen was pushed to the limit in the opener by the 21-year-old. But the 26-year-old found her way back at the end of the first frame before winning the match 13-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4.
World No.2 Sun Yingsha easily past Japan's Miyuu Kihara 13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7. Defending champion and fourth seed Wang Manyu overcame compatriot Sun Mingyang; Fifth seed Zhu Yuling ousted Singapore's Zeng Jian; 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Ding Ning also past the opening round, beating Monaco's Yang Xiaoxin.
On the men's side, Fan Zhendong survived from an opening-round scare, defeating Sweden's Anton Källberg. The world No.2 will face compatriot Xu Chenhao, who beat Germany's Patrick Franziska. Xu Xin dropped a set but still sealed the victory against Croatia's Frane Kojic. Defending champion Ma Long overpowered Japan's Masataka Morizono 11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2.
Meanwhile, the Chinese squad unanimously decided to donate their prize money from this event to those battling coronavirus at the forefront in Wuhan, China.
"Even though the team has been training abroad, We have been following the situation of this epidemic back in our home country, and we know that the situation is now getting better. So we hope that by playing and winning prizes at a tournament like this, which people in the homeland will be watching, we can make our contributions," said Ma Long.