Ma Long of China reacts during the men's singles round of 16 match against Darko Jorgic of Slovenia at 2020 ITTF Men's World Cup in Weihai, east China's Shandong Province, Nov. 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)
WEIHAI, China, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's Ma Long was made to sweat before overcoming Darko Jorgic of Slovenia in six sets to reach the quarterfinals at the ITTF Men's World Cup here on Saturday.
Joining Ma in the last eight are defending champion Fan Zhendong, Tomokazu Harimoto and Mattias Falck.
In their first head-to-head, Ma won the opening set 11-7, but Jorgic elevated his offensive quality to pull it level at 14-12 following a topsy-turvy second game.
Ma also faced a big challenge in the following three sets that saw many lead changes. The Chinese team captain took the third 11-9, but Jorgic once again tied by winning the fourth 13-11. Ma saved a game point before triumphing 13-11 in the fifth, and rediscovered his domination afterwards to secure a quarter-final berth at 11-3.
"It's the first time that we play each other. It's not an easy win for me, but it's normal," Ma admitted. "He is outstanding among European young players, and showed his character today."
The Grand Slam winner will next face Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who edged out Liam Pitchford of England in a seven-game thriller.
"I had some crucial moments in this match. I think it will help me in dealing with key points and getting into the match (against Ovtcharov)," Ma noted.
Top-seeded Fan withstood little challenge from 39-year-old Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei, marching into the last eight with 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 in 33 minutes.
"I made full preparation for this match, and got into it quite well. Hopefully I can play better and better deep into this competition," said Fan, who will contend for a semi-final spot with Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Brazilian Hugo Calderano was eliminated by South Korean paddler Jeoung Young-sik after six games of play. Enditem