Kong ends Gatien's reign

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The Independent Online
Jean-Philippe Gatien, the world champion, went out of the World Championships in Tianjin, China, yesterday as many of the top seeds fell by the wayside, writes James Leigh.

The charismatic Frenchman was beaten 3-2 by the local teenager Kong Linghui - the Asian Games champion who attracted great attention during China's tour of England in January.

Kong's success over Gatien confirmed the comeback of the Chinese men, who regained the world team title from Sweden on Monday after a six-year interval. Yesterday they provided the conqueror of the Swedish Olympic champion and third seed, Jan-Ove Waldner, beaten in five games by Liu Guoliang.

Another young Chinese player Ding Song, having accounted for Belgium's world No 1 Jean-Michel Saive on Thursday, scored a fourth round win yesterday over the 1991 world champion from Sweden, Jorgen Persson, also in five games, and after saving a match point.

Germany's eighth-seeded former European champion Jrg Rosskopf also went out, but the Chinese were not immune from the shocks. The seventh seed and former World Cup winner, Ma Wenge, lost to the relatively unknown Pole Lucjan Blaszczyk. Wang Tao, the second seed tipped by many for the title, lost 21-15, 21-16, 21-18 to Korea's Kim Taek Soo.