SINGAPORE - Singapore's world No. 4 table tennis player Feng Tianwei will not defend her title at the Japan Open, after suffering a shock 3-4 loss to Japan's Misako Wakamiya in her opening match of the women's singles event.
Feng, the third seed and two-time champion (2011, 2014), was beaten 7-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11 by her world No. 43 opponent.
The Singaporean had not been on the International Table Tennis Federation's professional circuit since March, having taken time to focus on preparing for the SEA Games. After a lacklustre showing at the SEA Games on home soil, she had hoped to defend her title in Japan and put her focus back on her campaign for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Said national women's team head coach Jing Junhong, in a telephone interview from Kobe: "Tianwei fought back to level the match, and had a lead in the last game, so it's a huge pity that she wasn't able to close it out."
Meanwhile, team-mate and world No. 49 Lin Ye came close to a big win over world No. 5 and 2012 Olympic team silver medallist Kasumi Ishikawa. She had a 3-1 lead, but eventually was outplayed by her Japanese opponent 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 8-11.