Former Olympic singles champion Zhang Jike was dumped out of the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Platinum German Open in Magdeburg at the opening stage today by Tiago Apolonia of Portugal.
Zhang, winner of the Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016, has not competed internationally since his shock third round loss to eventual semi-finalist Lee Sang-su of South Korea during the World Championships in Düsseldorf in May.
This latest comeback of the 2011 and 2013 world champion proved equally unsuccessful as world number 39 Apolonia triumphed 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3 at the GETEC-Arena Magdeburg to set-up a second round tie with Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong.
It remains to be seen how many more opportunities Zhang will now be given to feature for the Chinese national team.
World number two Fan Zhendong, top seed in the absence of injured Ma Long, had no such problems in the men's first round as he won 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-2 against Patrick Franziska of Germany.
There was more Chinese disappointment in the men's doubles as world champions Fan and Xu Xin were defeated 11-13, 10-12, 6-11 by Yuto Kizukuri and Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan.
Six Chinese players, though, reached the quarter-finals of the women's singles today.
This included top seed Zhu Yuling, the winner 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 against compatriot Liu Xi, and second ranked Chen Meng, who beat Hitomi Sato of Japan, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10.
Mima Ito also won an all-Japanese clash against Hina Hayata 21-10, 11-8, 15-13, 11-8.
Kasumi Ishikawa secured a second Japanese presence in the last-eight stage by prevailing 13-11, 11-5, 13-11, 15-17, 11-8 over Suh Hyowon of South Korea.
Action is due to continue tomorrow.