Xu's Olympic spot uncertain after upset

The 26-year-old Xu was the only player in a Chinese quartet at the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong who failed to reach the semi-finals of the East Asia section, after a major upset in which Taiwan's 72nd-ranked Chuang triumph 4-2.

Xu Xin said he would not compete in the second stage but would hope for one of a further 22 Olympic spots to be allocated in May based on world rankings.   -  Reuters

China's world number three Xu Xin suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Taiwan's unheralded Chuang Chih-yuan at Asia Olympic qualifying Thursday, but said he still hoped for a spot at the Rio Games.

The 26-year-old Xu was the only player in a Chinese quartet at the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong who failed to reach the semi-finals of the East Asia section, after a major upset in which Taiwan's 72nd-ranked Chuang triumph 4-2.

"Nothing happened, I just lost," Xu said. "I'll work harder next time."

Five men and five women winners will qualify from the first stage of the event in Hong Kong which separates the continent into five regions — East Asia, South-East Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Middle Asia.

Six additional Olympic men's and women's singles places are be up for grabs in the second stage, all-Asia, qualifying in which 32 players compete in each gender.

Xu said he would not compete in the second stage but would hope for one of a further 22 Olympic spots to be allocated in May based on world rankings.

World number one Ma Long continued to dazzle the crowds, reaching the semi-finals easily after overcoming Hong Kong's Wong Chun-ting 4-0.

Ma was overlooked for London 2012 but comes into qualifying off a stellar 2015 during which he captured the World Championship, World Cup and World Tour grand finals titles.

Chinese compatriot Fan Zhendong, the world number two, had a walkover after Hong Kong's Tang Peng withdrew with injury.

China's reigning Olympic singles champion Zhang Jike, ranked fourth, beat Japan's Mizutani Jun 4-2.

Zhang is hoping in Rio to become the first player to defend his Olympic singles title successfully.