CGames: Singapore face Kiwis, Canada challenge in table tennis

CGames: Singapore face Kiwis, Canada challenge in table tennis
Singapore's Yang serves the ball during his match against Seychelles' Laurence in the men's table tennis preliminary round at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

GLASGOW - Singapore's men will face New Zealand in Saturday's quarter-finals of the team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games with the women coming up against Canada.

The top seeds were both given a bye through the first round of their tournaments and will again be strong favourites to progress to the last four.

New Zealand's top player Phillip Xiao accepts that his team, who beat Barbados 3-0 in the first round, face a tough struggle against Singapore.

He said: "Our goal was to make the quarter-finals and we're very happy with that. They're the top seeds, they've very strong and we'll just give it a crack.

"They're definitely the favourites but there's pressure as well and if we can get a good start who knows?"

Second seeds England also had a bye and they face Wales.

Third seeds India take on hosts Scotland, who beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in front of another big crowd at Scotstoun on Friday evening after a surprise victory against Canada on Thursday.

There could be as many as 2,000 watching the quarter-final and Scotland's top player Gavin Rumgay, who has caused controversy with his "wedgie" celebration, which sees him hitch up his shorts, hopes the home support can be a factor again.

The 29-year-old said: "That's the trademark now for the rest of the tournament. It's been buzzing so we'll keep rolling with it.

"India start favourites in every individual match so for us to win three out of five is going to be very tough but we did it against Canada.

"These guys are high up in the world rankings and making a very good living from table tennis and they should be able to handle it but we've seen the effect the crowd has had."

India's key man Sharath Kamal Achanta insists him and his team-mates can cope with the crowd after they reached the last eight with a 3-0 win over Malaysia.

But the world number 44 accepts he will have to ease any anxiety among the younger members of the side ahead of the match.

He said: "We're used to that atmosphere. I'm used to it at home and in Germany. I don't know how the youngsters will take it so I need to keep them calm and ask them to do their job.

"Malaysia are one of the better teams in the last 16 but it's better for us because it's a good warm-up match."

Nigeria overcame Northern Ireland 3-2 and will meet Australia after they beat Canada 3-1.

In the women's event, Singapore were one of four teams allowed a bye into the quarter-finals, along with Australia, England and India.

Canada beat Guyana, who knocked out hosts Scotland in the pool stage, with a 3-1 scoreline and Betty Guo is sure the Canadians can raise their game against the top seeds.

She said: "They have players from China, they train in China and they're a higher level than us. I'll be happy if I beat a player with a higher ranking than me."

Wales will meet Australia after beating Sri Lanka 3-0, while Malaysia beat Nigeria 3-0 to set up a meeting with England. New Zealand, who beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0, meet India.

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