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Indian challenge ends in first round

New Delhi: The Indian challenge at the world table tennis championships being played in Paris came to a tame end when all four paddlers who made it to the main draw bowed out to higher ranked opponents in the first round.

According to information received here, Indiaís top player Chetan Baboor had no answer to the attacking game of Japanís Toshio Tasaki, ranked 41st in the world, and was thrashed 6-11, 9-11, 6-11, 8-11 on Wednesday.

Young Achanta Sharath Kamal made a promising start against 57th ranked Christophe Legout of France, but the latter overcame early hiccups to win 2-11, 11-6, 11-6, 15-13, 11-6 to advance to the second round.

In the womenís section, Mouma Das went down fighting to Hungaryís Georgina Pota 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 12-14, 8-11, while Yao Lin Jing of Malaysia defeated Mantu Ghosh 12-10, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5.

In the womenís doubles, Mouma and Mantu stretched Singaporeís Xueling Zhang and Paey Fern Tan, but eventually went down 11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 2-11, 11-8, 7-11.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Timo Boll suffered a shock 3-11, 7-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-9, 12-10 second-round defeat to little known Chinese teenager Qui Yike on Wednesday.

Asians dominate

In a sign of the times Asia accounts for all bar four of the pairings to make it through to the menís and womenís doubles quarter finals after early action on Day 4.

And as if that was not trouble enough Europe has no representation at all now in the mixed doubles, with the quarter final cast-list comprising six teams from China and two from Korea.

Favourites Wang Nan and Zhang Yining dropped the first and fourth sets against the Romanian duo Adriana Nastase and Mihaela Steff before prevailing 4-2 in their third round tie of the womenís competition.

Chinese No. 2 seeds Niu Jianfeng and Guo Yue lost just the one set against Koreaís Kim Kyung-Ha and Jun to win the right to play Russian duo Irina Palina and Svetlana Ganina.

The other European pairing still in with a shout are the Hungarians Kristina Toth and Csilla Batorfi who must beat Chinaís Li Jia and Li Ju to see the semis.

The fourth quarter final pits Singaporeís Li Jia Wei and Jing Jun Hong against Koreaís Suk Eun-Sil and Lee Un-Sil.

The Asian domination among the women was mirrored in the menís doubles where again only two European teams made it into the last eight.

Top seed Timo Bollís interest in the 47th championships, already seriously dented by his second round defeat in the singles, has ended for good.

Playing with Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth the Germans went out 4-1 to defending champions Wang Liqin and Yan Sen who now meet Slobodan Grujic and Alexander Karakasevic of Yugoslavia.

The appearance of French great Jean-Michel Gatien alongside another home favourite Patrick Chila next stirred up the Partis an Bercy crowd.

But the vocal support was not enough to lift the home pairing past the boys in red at the opposite end of the table ó Wang Hao, who made his breakthrough to the senior ranks last year, and Olympic singles gold medallist Kong Linghui, the Chinese fourth seeds.

Others with cause to feel on good terms with themselves after the third round were Austrians Werner Schlager and Karl Jindrak, who saw off the Japanese duo Toshio Tasaki and Akira Kito.

The remaining quarter final has Koreans Oh Sang-Eun up against Hong Kongís Cheung Yuk and Leung Chu Yun.

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