Table Tennis: Defending champ Feng Tianwei into semi-finals of Asian Cup

Feng Tianwei of Singapore during her women's singles quarter final table tennis match against Hirano Miu of Japan in the ITTF Nakheel Table Tennis Asian Cup on April 29, 2016.
Feng Tianwei of Singapore during her women's singles quarter final table tennis match against Hirano Miu of Japan in the ITTF Nakheel Table Tennis Asian Cup on April 29, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - National paddler Feng Tianwei stayed on track in her bid to retain her title at the Asian Cup, beating Japan's Miu Hirano 8-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 to earn a place in the semi-finals on Friday.

The world No. 7 will face China's reigning Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia (world No. 5) next in Dubai.

Feng won the event last year, winning her first continental title.

She told the International Table Tennis Federation after her win: "Miu attacks really fast from the backhand, so for me it was important that when she played to my backhand I focused on being consistent, putting the ball back on the table. From the forehand I played with as much spin as possible; not too fast."

World No. 23 and team-mate Yu Mengyu, however, had to withdraw from the competition. She lost her quarter-final against Hong Kong veteran Tie Yana (No. 20) 16-14, 11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 19-17.

She withdrew from the competition while playing Japan's Mima Ito for in the play-offs for position. The Singaporean had been playing through pain due to an old waist injury and opted out. Singapore Table Tennis Association senior high performance manager Eddy Tay told The Straits Times that it was more of a precautionary move, rather than a serious aggravation to the injury.

Yu will return to Singapore to recuperate. She is slated to play next month's Croatia Open but the STTA will monitor her condition before making a final decision as to whether she will travel to Zagreb for the event.

In the men's singles, Gao Ning is also through to the final four after beating Indian Soumyajit Ghosh 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8. He will meet China's Xu Xin in the semi-final, in a match that will also be played late Friday.