Feng and Yu assured of bronze
S'pore paddlers Feng, Yu guaranteed a bronze in women's doubles
Singapore's top paddlers kept up their red-hot form yesterday at the World Table Tennis Championships in Suzhou, China.
Women's world No. 4 Feng Tianwei and world No. 16 Yu Mengyu, the nation's top doubles pair, reached the semi-finals after coming from behind to beat South Korea's Park Young Sook and Yang Ha Eun 4-2 (8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 13-11, 13-11, 12-10) in the quarter-finals.
The duo, who will at least retain the bronze medal they won at the biennial tournament in 2013, will take on China's Liu Shiwen, the world No. 2 in women's singles, and Zhu Yuling (world No. 6) on Sunday for a place in the final.
National women's coach Jing Junhong was pleased that the pair stayed calm despite losing the first two games.
She said: "What was key for us was that we were more proactive and were able to employ the tactics and techniques which we practised to force the opponents on the back foot. Whenever we were in trouble, we were able to keep calm and maintain a good attitude. We did not retreat and become conservative, but continued to be proactive with our attacks.
"We need to maintain this aura of superiority.
"To be able to make it to the semi-finals again and take a bronze at the world championships is not an easy feat. So I'm very satisfied with their performances and we will continue to battle for a better finish."
Feng and Yu's strong showing also bodes well for Team Singapore as the pair aim to win the first gold medal on offer at the 28th South-east Asia Games, with the women's doubles final scheduled on June 2 at the Sports Hub's OCBC Arena.
Individually, they also advanced to the Round of 16 in the women's singles yesterday after comprehensive victories over Polish opposition.
Feng, 28, beat Katarzyna Grzybowska 4-1 (11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4), while Yu, 25, outclassed Li Qian 4-0 (15-13, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5). They will face each other today for a spot in the last eight.
Feng holds a 10-3 head-to-head record, with Yu's last win coming at the 2010 Austrian Open.
Said Jing: "They train together so they know each other's strengths and weaknesses very well."
Yu felt whoever can adapt to the conditions first will have the advantage.
She said: "It's a case of becoming used to the spin on the ball. The bounce of the new ball is different because sometimes it skids and stays low."
In the men's singles, Singapore's No. 1 Gao Ning, 32, ranked 15, swept past Austria's Chen Weixing 4-1 (11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 5-11, 11-4) to set up a last-16 meeting with world No. 5 Jun Mizutani today.
SINGAPOREANS IN ACTION TODAY
- Women's singles (Round of 16)
Feng Tianwei v Yu Mengyu
- Men's singles (Round of 16)
Gao Ning v Jun Mizutani