Kwok Fong-fong doesn't usually draw a crowd of her peers when she practises. At the Palais Omnisports yesterday the 23-year-old did just that as she prepared for her opening matches in the women's singles of the World Championships. Players from every corner of the world gathered in the vicinity of the table the Hong Kong competitor had chosen, or watched out of the corner of their eyes while going through their own routines. It could have been the garish mauve shirt the world number 72 had chosen, but more likely it was her selection of partner - Wang Liqin, the men's singles and doubles champion the past four years. 'She's never trained with such a strong opponent,' said Li Huifen, the Hong Kong women's coach. 'It's a great chance to improve her anticipation. She's very grateful for the opportunity. Wang gave her a three-point start and Kwok actually won the first game. That's very good for her mentally.' Thanks to the last-minute withdrawal of the North Korean team, Kwok will face qualifiers in the first two rounds. Lau Sui-fei, like Kwok a right-hander from Jiangsu, has also benefited from the North Koreans' no-show and should breeze through her opening matches. Hong Kong's best hope in the women's singles is Tie Yana, whose position in the world's top 10 suggests her progress should be fairly routine until the quarter-finals. Song Ah-sim, Tie's doubles partner, has a less easy task tomorrow when she takes on Austria's Liu Jia, the world number 44. In the men's singles, schoolboy Casey Tse Ka-chun moved confidently towards entering the main draw. The 17-year-old easily won his opening qualifying match yesterday against Tahiti's Jonathon Chewtchouk 11-4, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 and then defeated Vietnam's Nguyen Nam Hai 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 to enter the final qualifying round. The rest of the men's squad begin their singles campaign tomorrow. Perhaps the most important showdown will be Cheung Yuk's second match against Austria's Kostadin Lengerov. Cheung, a 21-year-old ranked 30th, needs to beat the European who is rated 50 places below him to set up a meeting with world number one Timo Boll of Germany. 'The Austrian is a young player, so I think Cheung can win,' said Hong Kong head coach Hui Jun. 'But he's lost twice to Timo Boll before.'