Dominant Feng wins title No. 7

Dominant Feng wins title No. 7
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei leaps in the air as he returns a shot to Japan's Kenichi Tago in their men's singles final match in the Thomas Cup badminton championship in New Delhi May 25, 2014.

SINGAPORE - Feng Tianwei lived up to her billing as top seed at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Australia Open, taking the women's singles title in devastating fashion yesterday.

The Singaporean paddler trounced Japan's Misaki Morizono 11-5, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 to triumph in the final of the US$32,000 (S$40,000) Challenge-level tournament.

It was the world No. 5's second title in as many weeks, after winning the Philippines Open last week.

She breezed through the Sydney tournament, giving up just two games in five matches en route to lifting her seventh professional singles title.

"Tianwei's performance has been rock-solid these two weeks," national women's team head coach Jing Junhong told The Straits Times in a phone interview.

"The scorelines may suggest that she sailed through the matches, but she did encounter difficulties in the process.

"Still, she dealt with the pressure of being top seed well and was able to come out tops."

As an Olympic bronze medallist who also won the 2010 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Final, the top prize on the professional circuit, taking part in third-tier, Challenge-level competitions such as the Philippines and Australia Opens was not the usual practice for Feng.

However, with the focus in the second half of the year fixed on July's Commonwealth Games and September's Asian Games, Jing said the paddlers had to make the best use of the time available now to compete on the circuit.

Playing in the lower-tier events would also be a good chance for Feng, who saw her world ranking slip to No. 7 last month, to gain ranking points and build confidence.

Said Jing: "Picking up ranking points is one thing, but you must be willing and able to withstand the pressure too.

"Tianwei has the tendency to trip up in lower-tier matches, so she's performed well these two weeks. It's helped to build her confidence."

Feng's victory capped a good week for Singapore's paddlers, who also performed well in the other events.

They posted a one-two podium finish in the men's singles, with world No. 132 Wu Zhikang upsetting No. 41 Zhan Jian 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 in the final.

Zhan then teamed up with Yang Zi in the men's doubles, but the duo were beaten 5-11, 9-11, 7-11 in the final by Hong Kong's Tang Peng and Wong Chun Ting.

This article was first published on May 26, 2014.
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