Table Tennis: Feng Tianwei settles for bronze at Women's World Cup; upset by Japanese teenager in semi-finals

Feng Tianwei competing at the quarter-final match against Sabine Winter (Germany) at the Women's World Cup in Philadelphia.
Feng Tianwei competing at the quarter-final match against Sabine Winter (Germany) at the Women's World Cup in Philadelphia.PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION
Feng Tianwei competing at the quarter-final match against Sabine Winter (Germany) at the Women's World Cup in Philadelphia.
Feng Tianwei competing at the quarter-final match against Sabine Winter (Germany) at the Women's World Cup in Philadelphia.PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION

SINGAPORE - Feng Tianwei settled for bronze at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Women's World Cup early Monday morning (Sunday night US time), beating Hong Kong's Tie Yana 12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.

The Singaporean paddler rallied for a strong showing in the bronze play-off, after a disappointing result in the semi-final earlier in the day. Said the world No. 6: "It's been really tiring, especially playing such a big tournament after the Olympic Games. I have not been training for over a month since Rio."

Feng had lost out on a place in the final after she was upset by Japanese teenager Miu Hirano 11-3, 6-11, 11-7, 11-13, 9-11, 13-15.

Hirano eventually went on to whitewash Chinese Taipei's Cheng I-ching 11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 to become the youngest World Cup champion in the event's 20-year history.

This is Feng's third bronze medal at the World Cup, having also come in third at the 2008 and 2013 editions.

This year's tournament is held in Philadelphia and was likely Feng's best shot at lifting the prestigious title. China's Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen - the world's top two players - both withdrew from the event due to injuries and illness. In China's absence - the first time China is not involved at this competition - Feng became top seed.

In the semi-final against 16-year-old Hirano, Feng had looked on course for a second victory over her world No. 17 opponent.

The 30-year-old veteran was just one point away from a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven games match, but allowed Hirano to claw back five straight points and to eventually win the fourth - and next two games for the victory.

Feng takes home US$15,000 (S$20,599) for her bronze.