Table tennis: S'pore paddlers in 4 finals

Table tennis: S'pore paddlers in 4 finals
Singapore's Feng Tianwei returns a shot against Romania's Daniela Monteiro Dodean during their women's team quarter-final match at the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

Singapore's paddlers dominated the US$30,000 Philippines Open (Challenge), which concluded yesterday.

The Republic had representatives in all four finals of the Challenge Series tournament - the women's and men's singles, as well as the Under-21 boys' and girls' singles - in what was a good outing for the team.

A total of 14 national associations took part in the competition, although powerhouses China did not have any players in the third-tier competition.

Women's coach Jing Junhong was understandably pleased with her charges' results.

Said the former national player: "The team did very well. There were some difficulties but we managed to get past them and achieve our targets."

Leading the way in Subic Bay for Singapore was world No. 7 Feng Tianwei.

The 27-year-old top seed beat Romania's world No. 26 and tournament third seed Elizabeta Samara 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 13-11 to take the women's crown.

Said Feng, the reigning Sportswoman of the Year: "My aim was to reach the final so it felt good to get the win.

"Samara did well, she definitely did her homework, but so did I.

"Overall, I thought everyone did well this time, They played really hard."

In the men's singles, Singapore's world No. 40 Zhan Jian cruised to the final without dropping a set.

However, Zhan, the event's top seed, could not maintain his blistering form and lost to Hong Kong's unseeded Ho Kwan Kit 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12.

In the Under-21 events, both the boys' and girls' finals were all-Singaporean finals.

Chen Feng won the boys' singles, beating Wu Zhikang 11-7, 11-4, 13-11, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9.

Lin Ye claimed the girls' singles when she defeated Zhou Yihan 11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11.

Singling out the younger paddlers for praise, Jing, 45, said: "The performance of Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan was quite unexpected. We were targeting a quarter-final finish at least, and they did very well to reach the finals."

This article was published on May 19 in The Straits Times.

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