Despite brave fight, Singapore men fall to Poland at world championship
They were the underdogs in the tie, with only world No. 21 Gao Ning outranking all three of their opponents.
But the Singapore men’s table tennis team, ranked 30th in the world, put up a brave fight against world No. 12 Poland in their opening Group C tie tonight (Feb 28) at the World Team Table Tennis Championships, but lost 3-2.
Gao Ning was pushed to the rubber game in the first match against world No. 82 Jakub Dyjas and rolled his ankle in the deciding game after leading 2-1.
The 33-year-old received treatment for about five minutes on the court before resuming the match, but conceded the first point with a 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9 loss.
World No. 163 Yang Zi levelled terms for Singapore in the second singles though, with a 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 15-13 victory over Wang Zengyi, ranked 40th in the world.
Clarence Chew, the world No. 176, put up a fight early in the third match against world No. 67 Daniel Gorak, but fell 11-2, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 to put Poland 2-1 ahead.
Gao Ning played through the pain and pulled the Republic back into the tie again in the fourth match, with a 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 win over Wang.
The stage was set for Yang Zi to be Singapore’s hero of the day, but it was not meant to be, as the Singaporean fell 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 to gift the tie 3-2 to the Polish.
Things are not going to get any easier tomorrow (Feb 29), with Gao Ning and Co. facing third-seeds Japan in the morning, before playing world No. 6 Portugal in the evening.