Table Tennis: Feng Tianwei suffers shock loss to unranked opponent at Hungarian Open

A file photo of Feng Tianwei winning a point at the 28th SEA Games on June 28, 2015.
A file photo of Feng Tianwei winning a point at the 28th SEA Games on June 28, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's top table tennis player Feng Tianwei suffered a shock loss in her opening match at the Hungarian Open, going down 3-4 (9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 4-11) to Japan's Natsumi Nakahata in the first round of the women's singles.

Her opponent, a 19-year-old teenager with no notable previous international results, is unranked while Feng is the world No. 8.

Feng, a seven-time winner on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) professional circuit, had been hoping to arrest a slide in form at her first tournament of the year, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in August.

While she lifted her first continental trophy last year at the Asian Cup,her season was also marked by several losses to opponents who were much lower-ranked than her. She also failed to win the singles gold at the SEA Games, despite being the favourite.

Meanwhile, her team-mates fared better. Yu Mengyu got past Poland's Katarzyna Grzybowska 4-1 (11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6) while Zhou Yihan defeated Egyptian Dina Meshref 4-3 (11-13, 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-1).

Lin Ye also beat Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz 4-1 (6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4). Zeng Jian beat South Korea's Park Young Sook 4-1 (11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-9).