Malta’s undefeated sequence came to a surprising end as the two Chinese outfits took control of their respective groups in the World Cup in Wuxi.
Maltese duo Tony Drago and Alex Borg had won their opening 10 frames and were expected to continue their dominant form against Singapore, but fell to a shock 3-2 defeat.
The defeat throws Group A wide open, as 5-0 drubbings for China A and India over Austria and Norway respectively means there’s only a point separating the top three with a couple of round-robin matches yet to be played.
The top two from each group go through to the quarter-finals, where the tournament progresses to a straight knockout.
Indeed, no team looks entirely safe across any of the four groups just yet.
Wales appear to have the most commanding position as they lead Group C on 13 points, two ahead of Northern Ireland and five clear of Australia in third.
However, Mark Williams and Michael White must face their two nearest rivals next so cannot afford any late slip-ups.
Meanwhile, four teams realistically remain in contention in both Group B and Group D.
Belgium boast a narrow single point advantage in the former over Scotland, with Brazil and Hong Kong in hot pursuit in an exciting league that looks set to go down to the wire.
A similar situation has been created in Group D, where China B’s 5-0 win over UAE on Wednesday see them top the standings on 11 points, ahead of Thailand on 10.
Ireland and England tie for joint third on eight points and will be hoping for big wins on Thursday ahead of what could transpire to be a winner takes all grudge encounter on Friday.