Singaporeans in Rio: Gao Ning stunned, Yu cruises to fourth round
Singapore table tennis suffered a shock when number one Gao Ning lost in the second round of the Olympic men's singles competition here in Rio.
Ranked world number 34 going into the Games, 33-year-old Gao Ning succumbed to unheralded Paul Drinkhall of Great Britain 4-3 (11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 11-3, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8), ending the veteran's campaign at the Olympics.
The Singaporean was left on the back foot almost immediately when he lost the first two sets.
He blitzed the Englishman 11-3 in the third set but just when it seemed he was about to take a grip of the game, 26-year-old Drinkhall turned the tables once again with an 11-3 win in just five minutes.
Gao Ning did well to hold his nerve and grab the next two must-win sets 11-9, 11-9, but if experience was to tell in the seventh and deciding game, no one told Drinkhall.
The resident of Sheffield prevailed 11-8 in a nail-biting finale against Gao Ning to end Singapore's interest in the men's table tennis competition at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Yu Mengyu plays against Jian Fang Lay of Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS
Meanwhile, Singapore women's table tennis player Yu Mengyu advanced to the fourth round of the 2016 Olympic singles event yesterday in Rio, overcoming Australia's Lay Jian Fang 4-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10).
Yu, 26, ranked number two locally behind the Republic's star, three-time Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei, was in control of the match despite some tense moments and seems to be relishing her first campaign at the Games.
Lay, 43, was making her fifth successive appearance at the Olympics.
Today, world number four and second seed Feng will take on Luxembourg's Ni Xia Lian, a 53-year-old veteran, in a third round clash, while Yu will take on Korea's Jeon J in what will surely be a tougher test for her.