Fan Zhendong cruised into the quarter-finals of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup in Yokohama ©Getty Images

Defending champions Fan Zhendong and Zhu Yuling of China eased through to the quarter-finals at the Asia Cup competition in Yokohama.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Asian Table Tennis Union began with pool stage matches at the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.

The 16 players in the men’s and women’s singles draw had been separated into four groups of four, with a round robin format then held.

Fan cruised to a straight games win over Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting in his opening match before the defending champion beat Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko and Jang Woo-jin of South Korea in four game matches.

The three straight wins saw Fan top the standings in Group A, giving him direct passage to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Wong would also advance in second place after winning two matches, while Gerassimenko secured a playoff spot.

Group B saw China’s Ma Long top the standings after three successive victories, with Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto progressing in second.

They will be joined in the quarter-finals by Japan’s Koki Niwa and South Korea’s Lee-Sang-su, who finished in the top two positions respectively in Group C.

Niwa is set to face Hong Kong’s Wong in the quarter-finals and Harimoto will take on Lee.

Fan and Ma await the winners of the playoff matches, which includes Thailand’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon, who topped the group dedicated to the continental qualifying winners.

Miu Hirano was forced into the playoffs after ending third in her group ©Getty Images
Miu Hirano was forced into the playoffs after ending third in her group ©Getty Images

The women’s event saw Zhu secure three straight victories to top the Group A standings, ahead of second placed Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong.

Doo had earned a surprise 3-2 victory against Japan’s Miu Hirano, the reigning Asian champion and last year’s World Championship silver medallist.

The result forced Hirano into the playoff matches.

China’s Chen Meng and Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the 2015 champion, would both win their groups without losing a match.

They progressed alongside South Korea’s Jeon Ji-hee and Kasumi Ishikawa, runners-up in their groups.

Ishikawa will take on Hong Kong’s Doo in the quarter-finals, while Jeon is due to face Feng, the only player from outside China to have won the event in the past 11 years.

Should Hirano come through her play-off match, the Japanese player would face a tough quarter-final match against either Zhu or Chen.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow.

The top three finishers in the men’s and women’s events will qualify for this year’s ITTF World Cups.