Record European champion Timo Boll made it to the round of 16 at the table tennis world championships in Houston.

The 40-year-old defeated the 21-year-old Pang Yew En Koen from Singapore on Friday morning German time in 4-0 sets.

“I didn't know my opponent before.

A very young man.

I watched a couple of videos of him, ”said Boll.

After the surprising elimination of several well-known rivals in his half of the tournament, the eleventh place in the world rankings now has the great chance of going very far at this World Cup.

The star of Borussia Düsseldorf could only meet a Chinese again in the final.

In his long career, Boll has only won one individual medal: bronze in 2011 in Rotterdam.

His next opponent is the Slovak Yang Wang.

In the quarter-finals, there could then be a duel with his German national team colleague Ruwen Filus.

The 33-year-old from Fulda beat Jakub Dyjas from Poland 4-0 and is now playing against the American Kanak Jha.

"That is my biggest concern now"

On the other hand, Patrick Franziska suffered a bitter defeat.

The European team champion from 1. FC Saarbrücken lost only a few hours after his double off with Timo Boll in the singles with 3: 4 against the 19-year-old Swede Truls Möregardh.

"I'm disappointed, upset - everything a little," said the world number 14.

With Franziska and the Olympic semi-finalist Lin Yun-Ju from Taiwan, other top players from Boll's half of the tournament were eliminated on Friday night.

Before that, the World Cup runner-up Mattias Falck from Sweden and the number two seeded Japanese Tomokazu Harimoto failed surprisingly early.

The constellation is reminiscent of the 2019 World Cup in Budapest, when Boll himself was in top form and the way to a medal seemed to be clear after the failure of several competitors.

Shortly before this big goal, however, he was stopped overnight by a febrile infection.

"I hope the body works tomorrow," said Boll with a view to the round of 16.

“That is my biggest concern now: That I will wake up tomorrow without any major problems.

If that is the case, I have a good chance. "