Singapore's female paddlers fell 3-0 against their Chinese counterparts in the semi-finals of the International Table Tennis Federation World Team Cup on Saturday.
With no third-placed play-offs at the tournament, the Republic have clinched a bronze medal to match their previous efforts in the 2011 and 2013 editions. They were runners-up in the 2009 and 2010 editions after losing to China in the finals.
World No. 5 Feng Tianwei, who had yet to drop a game throughout the competition with six clinical wins, was halted by her Chinese rival Zhu Yuling who eventually prevailed 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6 in the opening match.
Singapore's star of the quarter-final Isabelle Li, who won the deciding rubber against Hong Kong, could not repeat her heroics from the previous round as she was outclassed by top ranked Ding Ning. The 20-year-old, ranked 130th in the world, was beaten 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 by the former world champion in the second singles match.
Ding then formed a formidable partnership with world No. 2 and 2014 Asian Games singles gold medallist Liu Shiwen in the doubles against the Singaporean combination of Feng and Yu Mengyu (world No. 13). The Chinese pair booked their country's place in Sunday's final with a 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 victory.
China, eight-times victors of this competition, will face North Korea in a repeat of the 1990 final, which was also the inaugural edition of the team competition.