What started out as potentially a successful year has turned even more disappointing for Singapore's national paddler Feng Tianwei, after she crashed out yesterday in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup in Sendai, Japan.
The world No. 6 was upset in straight games, 7-11, 8-11, 4-11, 10-12 by Germany's Petrissa Solja, who is ranked 20 places below Feng.
It was a far cry from her bronze-winning achievements in 2008 and 2013. She also made three other semi-final appearances.
The 29-year-old could not be reached for comments yesterday.
However Solja, 21, told the International Table Tennis Federation website: "Today, everything just felt really good. I moved well, and even though Feng has a very strong forehand, when she attacked, I was able to feel the ball well and control the points."
The latest defeat comes on the heels of a series of setbacks for Feng this year.
Yet it had all seemed rosy in March, when she clinched her first Asian Cup women's singles title, beating China's Liu Shiwen to become the first non-Chinese player to win the competition since 2007.
However, things then began to go downhill, starting with a poor outing in the SEA Games in Singapore in June.
She failed to even reach the semi-final stage of the women's singles competition.
Later that month, she crashed out in the first match of her Japan Open title defence, losing in straight games to Misako Wakamiya.
Dogged by a persistent knee injury, her preparations for the Women's World Cup were not helped by a fallout amid the Team Singapore camp between her team-mate Yu Mengyu and women's head coach Jing Junhong.
Yu had complained that she wanted a coach, other than Jing, to guide her in the singles event at the Polish Open earlier this month.
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
- S-finals: StarHub Ch203, 9am
- 3rd placing/final: 12.30pm