By Gary Anderson

The group stages at the ITTF Para World Championships have concluded as most of the big names progress to knockout stages ©ITTFThe group stages have concluded at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para World Championships in Beijing as a number of Paralympic and world champions progressed to the knockout stages at the National Para Training Centre in the Chinese capital.

Norway's London 2012 champion Tommy Urhaug went down to a surprise defeat to Chinese Taipei's Lin Yen-Hung but recovered to overcome Frenchman Nicolas Savant-Aira 3-1 to secure a quarter-final clash with home favourite Cao Ningning in the men's class five.

South Korea's Kim Kiyoung and Mitar Palikuca of Serbia also set up a meeting after impressive showings.

Germany's Paralympic champion Holger Nikelis and the man he beat in the London 2012 final, Jean-Francois Ducay, made it through to the quarter-final stages in the men's class one as did European champion Robert Davies of Great Britain.

The top four seeds in the men's class two progressed with relative comfort headed by reigning Paralympic champion Ján Riapoš of Slovakia while China's London 2012 gold medallist Panfeng Feng and German bronze medal winner Thomas Schmidberger remain in the hunt in the hunt in the men's class three category.

Panfeng Feng is impressing on home soil in Beijing at the ITTF Para World Championships ©ITTFPanfeng Feng is impressing on home soil in Beijing at the ITTF Para World Championships ©ITTF

Top seeds in the men's class four, Kim Youngun of South Korea and Turkey's Abdullah Ozturk remain the men to beat in the class four division as they eased through to the knockout rounds.

Britain's Will Bayley also looks in top form and looks like he is the man to stop in the class seven category while Denmark's Peter Rosenmeier impressed in class six as did Austrian Stanslaw Fraczyk in class nine.

London 2012 silver medallist Bayley got a bye through to the quarter-final where he took on Czech Daniel Horut.

Bayley powered into a 2-0 lead but his opponent was not giving up and pulled it back to 2-1 before the Briton took the fourth set 11-5 to secure the win and set up a semi-final meeting with Ukraine's Mykhaylo Popov.

"He's got a lot of skills and he's very difficult," said 26-year-old Bayley afterwards.

"When I went 2-0 up I maybe took my foot off the gas a little bit.

"He got me a bit worried in the fourth set but I stayed calm and knew that if I could find any sort of rhythm I could win the match.

"One of my targets was to take two medals here - there's one in the bag now so I can relax and play my own table tennis.

"I really want to win one of these tournaments - a World Championships or a Paralympic Games - then you can say you are the best in the world and that is what I've always wanted."

Stanslaw Fraczyk of Austria remains in the hunt for medals in the class nine category in Beijing ©ITTFStanslaw Fraczyk of Austria remains in the hunt for medals in the class nine category in Beijing ©ITTF

In the women's competition, home favourite and reigning world champion Liu Jing ensured she remains on track to retain her class one-two title after an impressive 3-1 win over Thailand's Wachirapond Maenpuak sealed her progression.

South Korean Seo Yeon was a surprise winner over world number one Nadejda Pouchpacheva of Russia in the same class while Isabelle Lafaye of France accounted for Poland's third seed Dorota Buclaw.

In class four, the top four seeds all secured semi-final berths which sees Serbia's Borislava Peric-Rankovic take on Britain's Sue Gilroy while China's Zhang Miao will also face a Serbian in the form of Nada Matic.

It was the same story in the class five category as China's Zhang Bian and Jordan's Khetam Abuawad, progressed with Jung Younga of South Korea and Sweden's Ingela Lundbäck.

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