Singapore's target of a clean sweep of all seven table tennis titles up for grabs at the Commonwealth Games was derailed last night.
There is consolation, however, in a guaranteed gold medal for the paddlers in the women's singles competition, as Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu have set up an all-Singapore final at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.
Feng beat compatriot Lin Ye 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 in their semi-final clash, while Yu outclassed Australia's Lay Jian Fang 11-3, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.
Despite the assured gold medal, the table tennis team's dream of winning all seven gold medals was extinguished with the semi-final exit of mixed doubles pair Zhan Jian and Feng.
They lost 10-12, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 5-11 to England's Liam Pitchford and Ho Tin-Tin.
In a thrilling battle, Zhan and Feng fought back from two games down to level the tie, but the smashes of Pitchford and especially the aggression of 15-year-old Ho gave the resolute English pair the energy to cross the finish line.
National men's team head coach Yang Chuanning, who guided the Singapore duo on the sidelines, said: "We were too cautious and lost the vital first game, which gave England the psychological edge. Tiredness also played a part.
"Tianwei is also not used to the fierce strokes of the male opponent."
However, the 55-year-old Yang was not too dejected with the loss.
He said: "The standards at the Commonwealth Games have improved. England and India are teams to watch out for. It is no longer unusual to lose to them.
"I can still accept this defeat even though it is disappointing that we can no longer win all seven gold medals."
In the men's singles, Gao Ning and Zhan qualified for the quarter-finals after straightforward triumphs, beating Nigeria's Quadri Aruna (11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9) and India's Harmeet Rajul Desai (14-12, 11-6, 12-10, 13-11) respectively.
However, Li Hu crashed out after he was thrashed by India's Soumyajit Ghosh 11-5, 2-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.
While Gao and Li enjoyed a 13-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8 win over England's Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall in the men's doubles semi-finals, Zhan and Yang Zi collapsed to a 7-11, 10-12, 3-11 loss to India's Sharath Kamal Achanta and Anthony Arputharaj in just 21 minutes. An exhausted Zhan, who has also been struggling with an injured right thigh, said: "I am too tired and I have not been in good shape lately."
Singapore had better fortunes in the women's doubles third round with Lin and Zhou Yihan beating Welsh pair Angharad Phillips and Chloe Thomas 12-10, 11-5, 11-8.
Feng and Yu also coasted past another Welsh pair, Charlotte Carey and Naomi Owen, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 in 13 minutes.
This article was first published on August 2, 2014.
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