Yang and Yu in semis of Asian Championships
Singapore mixed doubles pair assured of at least bronze in Asian Championships
They may not have hit their usual heights in the men's and women's team events at the Asian Championships, but one Singapore mixed doubles pair are firing in Thailand.
The unseeded pair of Yang Zi and Yu Mengyu are assured of at least a bronze medal in Pattaya, after upsetting the odds again yesterday.
A day after they shocked China's second seeds Fang Bo and Mu Zi, the Singapore duo kept up their momentum, beating Hong Kong's sixth seeds Jiang Tianyi and Lee Ho Ching 3-2 (12-14, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10) in the quarter-finals.
In today's semi-final, they will meet North Korea's Choe Il and Ri Mi Gyong.
Women's world No. 29 Yu, a right-hander, said: "Yang Zi and I have been playing mixed doubles since 2012, so we know each other well and we have good rapport. We were also playing more aggressively to take control of the game."
Men's world No. 159 Yang is a southpaw, which serves as an ideal foil to Yu.
The five-time South-east Asia Games mixed doubles champion added: "Earlier, we capitalised on the fact the Chinese duo were a new pairing, so their co-operation is not as smooth as ours."
National women's table tennis coach Jing Junhong was "pleasantly surprised" by how far Yang and Yu have progressed in the tournament, and hopes they will continue to outdo themselves.
She said: "Both of them were not overawed by higher-ranking rivals and took the game to the opponents.
"They employed their technique and tactics better than their opponents and were more decisive at the critical moments.
"All the teams that make it to the last four must be of a high standard. I hope our players can maintain their current positive mindset against the North Koreans in the semi-final."
Women's world No. 7 Feng Tianwei, who injured her back last week in the team event, sat out the women's doubles competition, but opted to play through the pain in the women's singles yesterday.
The Olympic women's singles bronze medallist beat Malaysia's world No. 440 Lee Rou You and Japan's Tashiro Saki, ranked 124th in the world, both by 4-0 margins.
She will meet North Korea's Cha Hyo Sim in the Round of 16 today.
Said Jing: "Tianwei's back condition was better this evening and she felt that she wanted to give it a go, so we left the decision to her.
"We have been treating her back with several forms of treatment, including massages and ice, and will evaluate her involvement in the tournament day by day."
Also, the Republic's men's doubles pair of Gao Ning and Yang Zi faced China's top seeds Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin in the Round of 16 last night, but results were not available at press time.
- Additional reporting by LIM SAY HENG
ROUND OF 32 (SELECTED RESULTS)
- Yu Mengyu beat Cheng Hsien-Tzu (Tpe) 11-8, 11-7, 14-12, 11-5
- Feng Tianwei beat Tashiro Saki (Jpn) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6
- Clarence Chew/Pang Xue Jie lost to Masataka Morizono/Yuya Oshima (Jpn) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6
- Gao Ning/Yang Zi beat Elmurod Holikov/Zokhid Kenjaev (Uzb) 9-11, 11-1, 11-2, 11-4
- Feng Tianwei/Yu Mengyu lost to Gustin Dwijayanti/Novita Oktariyani (Ina) (walkover)
- Eunice Lim/Yee Herng Hwee lost to Kim Hye Song/Ri Mi Gyong (Prk) 11-3, 11-8, 11-4