Japan's Mima Ito came through a seven-game match to reach the fourth round of the World Table Tennis Championships in Houston ©Getty Images

Japan's Mima Ito advanced to the women’s singles fourth round of the World Table Tennis Championships after overcoming compatriot Saki Shibata in a seven-game match in Houston.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic singles bronze medallist Ito is seeking to challenge Chinese domination at the ITTF World Championships, but came close to a third round exit.

Ito fell behind at the George R. Brown Convention Center after Shibata won the second and third games of the contest.

Consecutive games for Ito saw the 21-year-old regain control of the match but Shibata hit back to force a decider.

Ito held her nerve to secure a hard-fought 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 2-11, 11-6 win to earn a place in the fourth round.

Her pursuit of a maiden individual World Championship medal is set to continue against Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, a 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 winner over Romania’s Andreea Dragoman.

China's Olympic champion Chen Meng cruised into the fourth round with an 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 triumph over Sarah de Nutte of Luxembourg.

Her next opponent is scheduled to be Japan’s Miu Hirano, after the Olympic team silver medallist won 10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-7 against Slovakia's Barbora Balážová.

China’s Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the tournament second and fourth seeds, are yet to drop a game after playing two matches in the women’s singles.

Sun beat Germany’s Han Ying 11-6, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 to set up a match against Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, while Wang recorded a 12-10, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 win over Sweden’s Linda Bergstrom.

Wang is now due to take on Jian Nan Yuan of France.

Fourth seeded Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei was the biggest casualty in the men’s singles draw.

Lin had recovered from a slow start against South Korea’s Lim Jong-hoon to level the match, but succumbed to the unseeded player in the deciding game.

Lim sealed an 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 13-11 win to reach the fourth round.

There, he is set to meet  Sweden’s Truls Möregårdh in a meeting between two unseeded players.

Lin’s exit leaves Germany’s Timo Boll as the highest ranked player in the bottom half of the draw.

The 40-year-old, the tournament's eighth seed, earned an 11-4, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 win over Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen in the third round.

Boll is now due to play Slovakia’s Wang Yang.

World number one Fan Zhendong of China remains untroubled in the other half of the draw, as the Olympic silver medallist won 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 against France’s Emmanuel Lebesson.

Fan will now play Summer Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Wang Chuqin in an all-Chinese fourth round tie.

Third seed Hugo Calderano of Brazil was forced to battle in his third round match, requiring seven games to overcome Belgium’s Cedric Nuytinck.

Calderano claimed an 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5 win over Nuytinck.

The Brazilian is now set to face Slovenia’s Darko Jorgić in the fourth round.