They will face each other in today's women's singles event, but Singapore paddlers Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu are already guaranteed a women's doubles bronze medal at the World Table Tennis Championships.
The duo outplayed South Korea's Park Young Sook and Yang Ha Eun 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9 to reach the semi-finals of the competition in Suzhou, China, yesterday.
As there are no third-place play-offs, the paddlers are assured of a bronze medal even before they take on China's Li Shiwen and Zhu Yuling on Sunday.
It was an unexpected victory against the South Korean duo, to whom they have lost in their previous two encounters.
Said women's national team head coach Jing Junhong: "I never thought they would get to win, much less such a resounding victory. It was an amazing surprise. I'd say today was a great success."
Feng, 28, and Yu, 25, had also won bronze in the same event at the previous World Championships in Paris in 2013 - and Jing feels that their long partnership and mutual understanding has strengthened with time.
She added: "They have got a firm grip on their opponents' weaknesses, made good successive shots, and controlled the ball's trajectory well. And they had such a positive attitude - that's important. "
Unfortunately, Feng and Yu were drawn to face each other in the women's singles competition, although both navigated safely past three rounds of unpredictable opponents.
World No. 4 Feng emerged triumphant against Poland's world No. 97 Katarzyna Grzybowska 11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist had the edge in all departments - control, variation and strategy.
While Grzybowska took the third game with some well-constructed topspin, Feng seized back control in the last game to seal the match.
Yu also sailed through the third round, beating another Polish player, world No. 42 Li Qian 15-13, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5.
"It's a shame that one of our players will have to be knocked out," said Jing.
Whoever wins the last-16 tie will face the victor of the match between Sweden's Matilda Ekholm and China's Mu Zi, who stunned Japan's world No. 5 Kasumi Ishikawa in straight games.
In the men's singles, Gao Ning beat Austria's Chen Weixing 11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 5-11, 11-4 in the round of 32, and will face Japan's world No. 5 Jun Mizutani today.
This article was first published on May 1, 2015.
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