Commonwealth Games: Singapore guaranteed two table tennis medals

The Singapore women’s table tennis team of (from left) Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu, Lin Ye, Isabelle Li and Zhou Yihan waving after their win. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The Singapore women’s table tennis team of (from left) Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu, Lin Ye, Isabelle Li and Zhou Yihan waving after their win. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

GLASGOW (AFP) - Singapore will win at least two medals in the women's table tennis singles at the Commonwealth Games on Friday after Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye all enjoyed comfortable victories to make the semi-finals.

World number four Feng, may have lost a game in her third round win over Australia's Zhenhua Dederko, but she was untroubled as she beat Malaysia's Lee Wei Beh 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7.

Feng will next take on Lin who beat Manika Batra of India 11-4, 11-2, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7.

"It was pretty straightforward," said the top seed who played in the doubles as well.

"I'm a little tired as I've played five times today, but I will have a massage and take some medicine.

"Myself and Lin play together a lot. She's a very young player with explosive power." Yu saw off the challenge of Canada's Mo Zhang with a 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 and she will meet Jian Fang Lay of Australia with both the semi-finals and final taking place on Friday.

While Singapore dominated singles competition, England broke their stranglehold in the mixed doubles event by having three pairs through to the semi-final stage, most notably with husband and wife pairing Paul and Joanna Drinkhall putting out second seeds Gao Ning and Ye Lin 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6.

Singapore coach Jing Junhong told how Gao and Ye struggled with Joanna's style of play.

"The big problem was the spin and the chopper style of Joanna," she said. "If you can read the spin you can do well against a chopper. The big problem today was that the players couldn't.

"They understand how to play against such defensive players but sometimes they were hesitant. They'd see a chance for a high ball but miss.

"Also mixed doubles is the best of five. If it was best of seven, we might have recovered.

"We didn't have much time to prepare for the mixed doubles. It's not played very often."

The Drinkhalls will next play Danny Reed and Kelly Sibley who followed up their victory over Li Hu and Yu in the fourth round by putting out Indians Sharath Kamal and Shamini Kumaresan 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 12-14, 11-4.

A final English pairing in Liam Pitchford and 15-year-old Tin-Tin Ho also battled through in five games with a 11-4, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 win against Eugene Wang and Zhang of Canada with top seeds Zhian Jian and Feng, the only Singapore pair remaining, awaiting in the last four after their comfortable three-game victory against William Henzell and Miao Miao of Australia.

In the men's doubles, the top four seeds of Gao/Li, Yang Zi/Zhan, Kamal/Anthony Arputharaj and Drinkhall/Pitchford all went through to Friday's semi-finals with the gold medal decided later in the evening.

Men's singles action is still in a fairly early stage but top seeds Gao and Zhan of Singapore and Kamal all made comfortable progress to the third round without losing a game, in a tournament where defending champion Yang was not selected for the singles.

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