Table Tennis: Singapore beat South Korea at world team championships crucial group tie

Feng Tianwei of Singapore returns a shot against Yang Ha Eun of South Korea at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Feng Tianwei of Singapore returns a shot against Yang Ha Eun of South Korea at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Fifth-seeded Singapore overcame the odds on Wednesday at the World Team Table Tennis Championships, beating third seeds South Korea 3-1 to win the crucial group stage tie.

The win is a boost to the Republic's hopes of finishing the round-robin stage as group leaders, thereby earning a bye into the quarter-finals.

World No. 7 and Singapore's top paddler Feng Tianwei led the way by winning both her matches. She had a close shave against Yang Ha Eun (No. 21), but beat the South Korean 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7.

Team-mate Yu Mengyu, the world No. 18, did well to win her match against a higher-ranked opponent. She beat defensive specialist Seo Hyo Won 11-5, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7. Isabelle Li could not overcome Park Young Sook, losing 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11.

Feng, however, wrapped up the tie with a 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10 win over Seo.

The men's team (world No. 13) also scored an upset over Hong Kong in their group stage tie, beating their world No. 7 opponents 3-1.

World No. 14 Gao Ning posted two points, with a 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 13-11 win over Jiang Tianyi (No. 31), then followed up with a 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 victory over Tang Peng (No. 24).

But the star of the tie was without doubt Clarence Chew. The local-born paddler, ranked No. 259 in the world, claimed one of the biggest scalps of his career so far by beating Wong Chun Ting, the world No. 37. Chew made a remarkable comeback after going two games down, eventually winning 5-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.

Yang Zi lost his match against Tang 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. The men play Croatia, another team ranked above them at No. 9, on Thursday.