(by Steve Hopkins)
While much of the world is focused on the WTT Contender event with some of the world’s best competing in Doha, the China National Games is running in Shaanxi with the top three players in the world competing.
In China, Fan Zhendong has advanced to the Singles Semifinal as expected – logging a pair of 4-1 wins in the knockout rounds. World No.2 Ma Long withdrew from Singles (his team advanced all the way to the Team final, so he played a lot earlier in the week – losing his final high-pressure match to Fan Zhendong on Tuesday as Fan’s team won the event). World No. 3 Xu Xin was upset in the Singles Quarterfinals 4-3 by Liu Dingshuo, a 23 year old shakehands lefty who’s highest world ranking was No. 115 and is currently ranked No. 230. Perhaps Liu is due for a ranking adjustment since he has completed a series of upsets that has landed him in the Semifinal of one of the most competitive tournaments in the world.
Fan will face Liang Jingkun (World No. 11) in one Semifinal. Wang Chuqin will face Liu Dingshuo in the other.
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