Table tennis: Sun leaves Feng out in the cold

Singapore's top female paddler Feng Tianwei, who is recuperating from a cold, says she needs to bounce back from her shock loss fast as there are many other competitions coming up. She was impressed with the mental maturity of her teenaged conqueror.
Singapore's top female paddler Feng Tianwei, who is recuperating from a cold, says she needs to bounce back from her shock loss fast as there are many other competitions coming up. She was impressed with the mental maturity of her teenaged conqueror.PHOTO: EPA

World No. 4 cites illness for her defeat by 16-year-old unseeded Chinese at Japan Open

Singapore's Feng Tianwei was sent crashing out of the Japan Open yesterday, losing to 16-year-old Sun Yingsha of China in the last 16.

World No. 4 Feng, who entered the competition as the top seed, lost 7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 10-12 to the unseeded Sun.

Feng had previously defeated 22-year-old Sofia Polcanova of Austria 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 4-11, 11-5 to reach the round of 16.

After her loss, the 30-year-old Singaporean said: "Sun Yingsha played well today.

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"She is very mature mentally, unlike other 16-year-olds who might get nervous."

She also cited illness as a reason for her defeat against Sun, whom she was taking on for the first time.

"This is the first time we are playing against each other," Feng said.

"I've got a cold, so I am not in good form. I had to try my best to finish that match."

SLOW AND STEADY

Sun Yingsha played well today. She is very mature mentally, unlike other 16-year-olds who might get nervous.

FENG TIANWEI, Singapore paddler, conceding that her opponent Sun Yingsha of China got the better of her.

However, she admitted that she was "fatigued after the World Championships, and was not able to adapt and change my pace fast enough in the match".

This proved costly, as she noted: "Playing against a Chinese player, once you are slow in making changes, you are in a passive position."

Feng and partner Yu Mengyu had also crashed out early in the women's doubles, losing 0-3 to Sun and Chen Xingtong of China (2-11, 5-11, 10-12) in the round of 16 as well.

Just last week, they had bagged the bronze medal at the World Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, losing in the semi-finals to Chinese pair Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng.

Feng also failed to win a medal in the singles at the World Championships, losing to the highly-rated 17-year-old Japanese Miu Hirano in the quarter-finals.

"For me, now my priority is to recover fast as there are many more competitions coming up," said Feng, whose Korean Open win in April - her first International Table Tennis Federation crown after being axed from the national set-up in September last year - remains her lone singles title this year.

Other representatives of Singapore at the Japan Open include Yu, who lost to Elizabeta Samara of Romania 7-11, 8-11, 6-11, 5-11, and Zeng Jian, who beat Chen 11-7, 11-7, 11-2, 5-11, 9-11, 4-11, 11-6 to set up a last-16 clash with Han Ying of Germany today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'Sun leaves Feng out in the cold'. Print Edition | Subscribe