Commonwealth Games: Singapore in charge of Games table tennis

GLASGOW (AFP) - Top seeds Singapore's women secured their progress from the preliminary round of the team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games before the men's team pulled off another convincing victory.

The women followed up their 3-0 win over Sri Lanka on the first morning of competition with a routine 3-0 victory against Northern Ireland. The men maintained the form they showed in beating Ghana 3-0 in their first match with another comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka.

Their final match of Pool A comes against Seychelles on Friday.

Even without number one player Feng Tianwei, the Singapore women made short work of Northern Ireland to underline their prospects of gold at the Scotstoun Sports Complex.

The men's team were able to rest their top player Gao Ning, who only dropped 17 points in his singles match against Ghana, for their victory against Sri Lanka.

Coach Yang Chuanning, who has been pleased with the impact of Zhan Jian, is wary of the mental pressure on Gao.

"Participating in the Commonwealth Games brings a lot of pressure," he said. "Being an athlete is not just technical ability, it's also about mental application and you only play well when these two are right.

"We're not worried about the skills, we're worried about the mental side. Zhan Jian raises the level of our team because he's a very complete player."

Also in the men's tournament, second seeds England continued their solid start to the competition by picking up a 3-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago to follow their earlier win over Jamaica by the same margin.

Third seeds India, who had earlier beaten Vanuatu 3-0, beat Northern Ireland 3-0 and their top player Sharath Kamal Achanta believes the team can go the distance. He said: "We didn't expect them to put up such a good fight.

"We played our first game (on Thursday) morning but this was our first strong match and we were still trying to find our rhythm. They were very well prepared for us and played hard. "It will be difficult depending on the draw, which we will only know after the final game tomorrow. But if we perform what we have practised we will do well."

Fourth seeds Nigeria have also recorded a decent start with a 3-0 win over Bangladesh and a 3-1 victory against Mauritius. In the women's event, second seeds Australia are also hitting early form, with 3-0 wins over Guyana and hosts Scotland and third seeds England secured 3-0 victories against Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago.

England's Kelly Sibley claims the frustration of coming fourth in Delhi four years ago is driving the team.

"We finished four points off the bronze medal in fourth position. I will never forget that feeling, it was horrendous. It was the lowest point in my career. I've been waiting for Glasgow," she said. "Some people say you can use these early matches to feel your way into the tournament. But this is a massive competition so I'm 100 per cent focused for every game."

India, ranked fourth in the tournament, picked up a 3-1 win against Nigeria, following their 3-0 victory against Barbados earlier in the day.

In Pool E, New Zealand held on for a thrilling 3-2 win over Wales in a match that lasted two hours and 22 minutes and in Pool F Malaysia overcame Canada in two hours and 29 minutes in a similarly entertaining contest with a 3-2 scoreline.

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