Hong Kong’s table tennis players crashed out of the WTT 2022 Star Contender Doha tournament on Tuesday, after losing all five matches. Lee Ho-ching came closest to progressing at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar’s capital, and put up a strong fight in the women’s singles round of 16 match, before losing to her Chinese rival Zhang Rui in four close games. Despite starting in the qualifiers, Zhang, who is not among her nation’s top players, still proved too strong for her opponent, who was a member of the Hong Kong side that won team bronze at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics. China did not send their top players to Middle East after completing a clean sweep of all five titles at the Singapore Smash earlier this month, but their second or even third tier of players were strong enough. In a close encounter, Zhang beat Lee 3-1 (11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9) with all four games decided by no more than three points. Hong Kong table tennis stars off to mixed start at US$2m Singapore Smash Lee also reached the round of 16 at the US$2 million tournament in Singapore, and despite being one Hong Kong’s better players still found it too difficult against Zhang. “Zhang showed very good calculation in her attack during the big points and that’s why she was able to win in a close game,” Hong Kong coach’s, who is also called Zhang Rui, said. Earlier, Hong Kong’s top player Doo Hoi-kem, who was the No 1 seed in the women’s draw, lost in the second round. The world No 8, who received a bye in the opening round, lost 3-1 to Joo Cheonhui of South Korea. Joo, a former Shandong Luneng player, claimed the scalp of Doo’s Hong Kong teammate Minnie Soo Wai-yam in the first round. Hong Kong to send all top table tennis players to Singapore Smash In the men’s doubles, Wong Chun-ting and Ho Kwan-kit lost 3-1 to Dang Qiu and Benedikt Duda of Germany in the quarter-finals. The German pair, semi-finalists at the Singapore Smash, lost the first game 7-11 but sealed the victory by taking the next three 11-6, 11-5, 11-4. The two women’s doubles pairs also lost. Doo and Zhu Chengzhu went down 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-7) to Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki of Japan, while Lee and Minnie Soo suffered a 3-1 (13-11, 8-11, 11-5, 13-11) defeat by Archana Kamath and Manika Batra of India. In the men’s singles, Hong Kong No 1 Wong Chun-ting also failed, losing to Andrej Gacina of Croatia 3-1 (11-4, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8).