The men’s singles final will not be an all-Chinese affair for the first time in 16-years after second seed Xu Xin suffered a shock elimination at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships in Budapest.
Xu was the sole Chinese representative in the bottom half of the draw at the Hungexpo venue in Hungary’s capital city.
The Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist game from a game down to lead France’s Simon Gauzy in the third round of competition.
Gauzy then launched a stunning comeback to win the next three games to triumph 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9.
The last final to not feature two Chinese players came back in 2003 when Austria’s Werner Schlager beat South Korea’s Joo Se-Hyuk in the gold medal match.
The highest ranked player in the bottom half of the draw is now Japan’s teenage star Tomokazu Harimoto after the 15-year-old beat Portugal’s Marcos Freitas 11-8, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7.
World number one Fan Zhendong cruised through his latest match in the top half of the draw, the Chinese star winning 12-10, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 against Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna.
China’s Lin Gaoyuan also progressed to the fourth round by winning 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7 against France’s Emmanuel Lebesson.
Ding Ning, the Rio 2016 champion, cruised through her latest match in the women’s singles event.
The Chinese star crushed Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz 11-1, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 to reach the fourth round.
Second seed Chen Meng, also of China, was edged in the opening game of her match with Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut.
Chen responded to the setback in impressive fashion to win the contest 13-15, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12.