Triple winner Wang Nan out of worlds
China's multiple world and Olympic champion Wang Nan crashed out of the 48th World Table Tennis Championships yesterday, becoming the highest-ranked seed casualty in the third round of the women's competition as she was outclassed by unseeded South Korean Moon Hyung-jung.
In a thrilling seven-set tussle, Wang, one of the most decorated ping pong stars in the world, used her experience to square up to attacking Moon but simply could not stop her rival from wrapping up the game 14-12, 4-11, 11-6, 5-11, 14-12, 12-14, 8-11.
"I think Wang was a little bit nervous today," said Li Xiaodong, Wang's coach. "Her play was tight and she is not used to the playing style of the South Korean player."
A frustrated Wang refused to give any comment after the match.
The loss also put an end to Wang's quest to equal the 18 major world titles won by China's legendary Deng Yaping.
Currently, Wang holds 17 golds from the World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Games.
Wang has shown a clear decline in recent years. She lost two matches in the team final against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, causing China to lose its Asian team title.
At the Athens Olympics last year, Wang was knocked out by Li Jia Wei of Singapore in the quarter-finals of the singles competition.
The loss in Shanghai is another huge blow to the veteran player, who managed to restore her confidence after seriously considering retirement.
On Monday, several big names also suffered defeats - men's defending champion Werner Schlager of Austria and Athens Olympics champion Ryu Seung-min of South Korean lost to little-fancied opponents in the second round.