Both the national men's and women's table tennis team had their dreams of winning medals at the Asian Table Tennis Championships crushed by South Koreans in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday.
World No. 7 Feng Tianwei left it too little too late in her match against world No. 12 Seo Hyowon, who prevented a remarkable comeback in the last game with a wondrous winner off Feng's fierce smash with the score at 7-7.
Seo's 3-2 (12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8) victory helped South Korea win the quarter-finals 3-1 overall, after she had also seen off world No. 29 Yu Mengyu 3-1 (6-11, 15-13, 13-11, 12-10) despite the Singaporean reaching game-point first in all four games.
Feng was the only Singaporean to pick up a point as she beat world No. 13 Yang Haeun 3-2 (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6), while 18-year-old, world No. 447 Yee Herng Hwee's first match in a major tournament ended in a defeat by Lee Zion (11-6, 11-7, 11-9).
The result meant that the national women's paddlers failed to retain the bronze medal they won two years ago in Busan, South Korea.
National women's table tennis coach Jing Junhong told The New Paper: "Our players actually performed quite well and I think there was actually very little between both sets of players.
"So in even match-ups like these, it all depends on who are able to raise their game on match day, and they were the Koreans.
"We lost by narrow margins, the result of too many unforced errors. We will try our best to finish as high as possible in the fifth-to-eighth placing matches before we take on the individual events."
In the men's team competition, Singapore fell 3-0 to South Korea.
World No. 14 Jung Youngsik beat world No. 19 Gao Ning 3-0 (11-9, 11-3, 11-6), world No. 16 Joo Saehyuk beat world No. 159 Yang Zi 3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11- 6), before world No. 20 Lee Sangsu sealed victory with a 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-5) win over world No. 204 Clarence Chew.
National men's table tennis coach Yang Chuanning said: "I would say our players performed up to expectations and the Koreans were simply of a better standard and played more freely.
"Like the women's team, we will now head into the placing matches tomorrow, and we will give it our best shot to finish as high as possible.
"I cannot say we are confident of retaining the bronze Gao Ning and Yang Zi won in the men's doubles competition two years ago, but we will definitely go all out for it."
This article was first published on Sept 27, 2015.
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