Table Tennis: Singapore men give Japan a mighty scare
REPORTING FROM SHAH ALAM
The Singapore men's national table tennis team lost 3-1 to world No. 3 Japan in a Group C encounter at the World Team Table Tennis Championships at the Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam on Monday (Feb 29).
Missing top paddler Gao Ning through an ankle injury, coach Liu Jiayi fielded world No. 334 Pang Xue Jie, Yang Zi and Clarence Chew, who are all left-handers.
Pang took the court first in the first singles against world No. 14 Koki Niwa - with their top player Jun Mizutani rested for this tie - and delivered a shock result by beating the Japanese player 11-4, 2-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 to give Singapore the lead.
Yang Zi, now ranked 163 in the world, pushed world No. 20 Yuya Oshima to the rubber game as well in the second singles, but lost 7-11, 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 4-11 to allow Japan to level terms at 1-1.
Chew, 20, also pushed world No. 24 Maharu Yoshimura to five games in the third singles, but lost 11-9, 12-14, 4-11, 11-6, 9-11.
Niwa made amends for his loss to Pang in the fourth match, with his 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 victory over Yang Zi.
The men's team will face Portugal at 7.30pm on Monday night.