Table tennis: Feng fails in Asian Cup title defence

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

Feng Tianwei will not retain her Asian Cup title, instead hoping for a bronze at best, after losing in the semi-finals of the annual tournament in Dubai yesterday .

The world No. 7 Singaporean was beaten 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6 by reigning Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia of China.

Feng, who has never got the better of Li in nine previous encounters on the International Table Tennis Federation tour, will face Hong Kong veteran Tie Yana (No. 20) in today's bronze medal play-off.

Despite the loss, Feng told The Straits Times: "I'm happy that I played my best against Li. However, I'll still need to continue to work on my game for the Olympics."

Team-mate Yu Mengyu was also in action yesterday, but lost to Tie in the quarter-finals 16-14, 11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 19-17.

The world No. 23 was in a play-off for position against Japan's Mima Ito, but withdrew to avoid aggravating an old waist injury.

The duo will return to Singapore for a break before next month's Croatia Open. Feng has secured a berth in the Olympics and a slot for Yu also looks to be on the cards.

In the men's singles semi-finals, Singapore's world No. 27 Gao Ning lost to China's world No. 3 Xu Xin 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-4, 11-1. He will face Hong Kong's Wong Chun Ting in today's bronze medal play-off.

Despite the loss, Gao looks to have recovered from an ankle injury suffered during last month's World Team Championships.

He said: "Overall I am happy with my results. It is not easy to get into top four, as the competition is tough. There were many high ranking players but I believe I did my utmost best."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'Feng fails in Asian Cup title defence after losing in s-finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe