Singapore set for first gold tonight
Feng and Yu ready to step it up to land Singapore's first gold tonight
They scored a total of 289 points yesterday, conceding 162 and dropping just two games in eight matches.
Singapore's paddlers have been charged to deliver all seven gold medals at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games here, and they had a roaring start on the first day of competition at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday, led by crack women's doubles pair Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu.
What's worse for their opponents - Feng, Yu and Co. say they've yet to hit top gear.
"This was our first match of the tournament today, so we were a little nervous," said world No. 4 Feng, after partnering Yu to an 11-8, 13-11, 11-6 quarter-final win over Thailand's Orawan Paranang and Tamolwan Khetkhuan.
"We are still getting used to the competition atmosphere and our opponents today were of a certain standard - they took a game off China's Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling at the World Championships this year.
"We should be getting better and better with each day."
Feng and Yu, who is ranked world No. 13 in women's singles, are on track to win Singapore's first gold medal of the Games tonight.
First, they will have to get past Malaysia's Ho Ying and Lee Rou You in the semi-finals, and set up a what will probably be a clash with teammates Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan in the final tonight.
Like Feng and Yu, Lin Ye and Zhou are assured of at least a bronze medal after beating Malaysia's Ng Sock Khim and Angeline Tang 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 in the last eight yesterday.
Lin Ye, 19, said: "We prepared well for this competition because it is such an important one and got into our rhythm pretty quickly today. I thought we did pretty well today."
Her partner Zhou, 21, said the boisterous Singapore supporters gave the pair a boost.
Zhou said: "We are very happy to see so many Singaporeans cheering for us and we hope not to disappoint them in the upcoming matches.
"The Thais are pretty strong in this competition, so we have to focus on our preparations for our next match."
Lin Ye and Zhou will face Thailand's experienced pair Nanthana Komwong and Suthasini Sawettabut in the other semi-final today.
Thailand coach Anisara Muangsuk said: "It's going to be tough, but we will fight for every point. We have to give it a lot of thought and come up with a plan."
Singapore's women head coach Jing Junhong hopes her players can shrug off their slow start yesterday and switch to a higher gear.
She said: "How they are playing today is very normal for the start of a competition. I hope I'll get an all-Singapore final (in the women's doubles), but Zhou Yihan and Lin Ye will have to step up because they are about the same standard as their opponents.
"They will have to bring more fire into their game tomorrow."