Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin remain on course for their 200m final rematch as both qualified with minimal fuss from their heats.
Bolt, who has admitted to feeling weary in the aftermath of his extraordinary 100m victory here in the Bird’s Nest, won the third heat in 20.28 seconds, easing off with 40m to go and jogging across the line.
Gatlin – comfortably the fastest man in the world this year over 200m, as he was over 100m – ran a smooth 20.19 as he seeks revenge for his shock defeat on Sunday night.
Britain’s talented 20-year-old Zharnel Hughes, who trains with Bolt in Jamaica, won his heat in 20.13secs while team-mate Danny Talbot is also into Wednesday’s semi-finals after a 20.35secs for third in his heat.
Gatlin has run 19.57secs this year while Bolt only raced over the distance once in his injury-hit summer before arriving in Beijing, an unimpressive 20.13secs in New York two months ago.
Under normal circumstances that would make Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, clear favourite to win back the title he first took in Helsinki 10 years ago.
But Bolt does not do normal circumstances, and in the same stadium where he smashed the world record in winning 200m Olympic gold seven years ago, only those blind to history could discount his chances.
“The 200m means a lot more to me but I’m a little worried about my fitness because I’ve not done many this year,” Bolt told BBC Sport.
“I think I am a better technical runner in this event. I am tired and a little sore but I’m going to take another ice bath and I’ll be OK.”
Hughes, born in the British overseas territory of Anguilla, formally gained British citizenship in June this year and won the national trials in some style.
And he may yet be in contention for a bronze medal in an event that is relatively open outside of the big two.
“I think I came off too lazy on to the curve. Other than that it was a great race,” Hughes told BBC Sport.
“I came off well from the curve. It was difficult on the tight lane because I’m tall. To be here I feel blessed.”
Ohuruogu comes good once again
Reigning world champion Christine Ohuruogu appears to be peaking at the perfect time once again after she ran a season’s best of 50.16 seconds to reach the 400m final.
Ohuruogu makes a habit of this – in every major championships she has run at, going all the way back to the European Juniors of 2003, she has produced a season’s best.
Seven years ago in this same stadium she stormed to Olympic gold, and she will be a serious threat once again, her championship nous unmatched in the field.
Her compatriot and friend Anyika Onuora will not join her but ran her second personal best of the championships, this time 50.87 secs, as she continues to impress having moved up from the shorter sprints.