Singapore's Feng ousted by 832nd-ranked qualifier
National coach Jing says world No. 4 fails to perform to usual standards
She is ranked No. 4 in the world and is a seasoned campaigner.
Her opponent was unseeded, ranked 832nd and had made it to the main draw through qualifying.
Feng Tianwei entered the women's singles quarter-final match of the World Table Tennis Championships in Suzhou, China, yesterday as the hot favourite against the unheralded Mu Zi.
But the 25-year-old Chinese paid scant respect for Feng's reputation as she stunned the Singaporean 4-0 (11-5, 11-2, 11-9, 11-5) to reach the semi-finals of her first major competition.
Feng had earlier defeated compatriot Yu Mengyu 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9) in the Round of 16, but it was hardly smooth sailing in her clash against Mu.
The Republic's top-ranked women's paddler trailed the Chinese from the start as the latter dominated the match with well-placed shots and aggressive play.
National women's coach Jing Junhong said Feng, who had won the women's singles title at the Asian Cup in March, was overwhelmed by her opponent.
"After getting off to a poor start, Tianwei couldn't get back into the match," Jing told The New Paper in a phone interview.
"She was overpowered by the opposition, and she couldn't perform up to her usual standards."
The 28-year-old Feng had revealed before the start of the championships that she was struggling with some injuries during a training camp to Taiwan, but Jing insisted that they had nothing to do with her loss.
She said: "It was just one of those days when Tianwei played a bad match and couldn't find her rhythm."
Feng's loss means that China are guaranteed of an 11th straight women's singles title at the world championships.
It will be an all-Chinese semi-final line-up as Li Xiaoxia, Liu Shiwen and top-ranked Ding Ning all won their quarter-final matches to join Mu in the last four. Chinese women have monopolised the event since 1995, with Deng Yaping winning twice straight, Wang Nan three times in a row, Zhang Yining twice and Guo Yue, Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia once each.
Feng needs to pick herself up quickly as she will team up with Yu for their women's doubles semi-final match against China's Liu and Zhu Yuling tomorrow.
Jing admitted that the Singaporean duo will start as the underdogs but remained hopeful.
"The Chinese pair are very strong," said Jing. "But the girls are just going to fight it out and I know they will play their best."
Meanwhile, Singapore's Gao Ning also crashed out of the men's singles competition when he lost 4-2 (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3) to Japan's No. 5 Jun Mizutani in the Round of 16.
It was just one of those days when Tianwei played a bad match and couldn’t find her rhythm.
— National women’s coach Jing Junhong on Feng Tianwei
Mixed doubles final
- Xu Xin/Yang Hae Un (Chn/SK) bt Maharu Yoshimura/Kasumi Ishikawa, (Jpn) 11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6.
- Mu Zi (Chn) bt Feng Tianwei (Sin) 11-5, 11-2, 11-9, 11-5
- Liu Shiwen (Chn) bt Zhu Yuling (Chn) 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3
- Li Xiaoxia (Chn) bt Mima Ito (Jpn) 9-11, 14-16, 11-2, 11-7, 13-11, 11-2
- Ding Ning (Chn) bt Wu Yang (Chn) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8.