Olympics: Singapore paddler Yu Mengyu is ‘getting into the zone’
S'pore's world No. 47 advances to round of 32, while debutant Chew gives creditable showing despite defeat
Take nothing for granted and leave no regrets behind. That is Singapore paddler Yu Mengyu's mantra at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yesterday, the world No. 47 embodied those words perfectly as she sealed a spot in the round of 32 of the women's singles.
Showing no let-up despite taking a dominant lead, Yu dispatched her Portuguese opponent, world No. 63 Shao Jieni, 4-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9) in 30 minutes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Noting that Shao had come back from 3-0 down to beat Sweden's Christina Kaellberg 4-3 on Saturday, Yu said: "I focused on scoring every point I could, regardless of whether I was leading or trailing.
"Today's tactics were executed well."
At the next table just minutes earlier, her compatriot Clarence Chew lost 4-1 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10) to Austria's world No.44 Daniel Habesohn in the second round of the men's singles.
As Chew saw his Olympic debut come to an end, Yu is hoping to extend her run at her second Games.
She will face world No. 8 Cheng I-ching in the third round tomorrow, while teammate Feng Tianwei faces Spain's Maria Xiao today.
Yu holds a 10-3 head-to-head record against the 29-year-old Taiwanese, but she insisted that past results count for nothing.
"My next opponent is the fourth seed of the tournament and her ranking is much higher than me," she said.
"Regardless of my previous wins or losses, I will carefully prepare for the game and strive to play without leaving any regrets."
Yu added that she is "feeling pretty good and is starting to get into the zone".
Singapore women's coach Hao Anlin believes both players are of a similar calibre.
"What we have to do is to adjust our mentality and fully prepare against the opponent's skills and tactics," said Hao.
"We have to go all out to score every point and try to win the match."
Hao believes that Yu played well in terms of tactics and technique, adding: "She was very calm during the match and handled the opponent's technical and tactical preparations well."
Men's coach Gao Ning believes that Chew, 25, also gave a creditable performance.
Despite a second-round exit, Chew put up a good fight against Habesohn and held the biggest lead of the match, 8-3 in the fourth set, which he won 11-6.
"I went in with the same mentality as yesterday, to bring the fight to the opponent and focus on playing more aggressively without fear," said Chew, referring to Saturday's win over Senegal's world No. 71 Ibrahima Diaw.
Habesohn started off the match with a commanding lead, winning three consecutive sets. But he was made to work hard for the win, with Chew drawing 6-6 on each occasion.
"Being 3-0 down, I tried to play more freely with less pressure and found certain tactics that forced him into mistakes," said the world No. 186.
"I was feeling more confident but unfortunately wasn't able to capitalise on my lead in the fifth game."