Olympics: Feng Tianwei struggles early but still reaches last 16 of table tennis women's singles

For the first 10 minutes of her women's singles third round match, nothing seemed to be going for Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei.

TOKYO - For the first 10 minutes of her women's singles third round match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Monday (July 26), nothing seemed to be going for Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei.

The world No. 9 lost her first game, could not find her range, and even when she did score a legitimate point, the system failed to register it.

But the 34-year-old woke up from her slumber, took the lead for the first time after 26 points, prevailed in the second-game tie-break, and never looked back, beating Spain's world No. 72 Maria Xiao 4-1 (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-2, 11-4) in 46 minutes.

Feng will meet either Germany's 22nd-ranked Han Ying or Australia's world No. 156 Lay Jianfang in the round of 16 on Tuesday, when her compatriot Yu Mengyu (No. 47) also plays Taiwanese Cheng I-ching (No. 8) for a place in the last 16.

Feng, who was a key member of the women's team that won silver at Beijing 2008 and bronze at London 2012, also won a women's singles bronze nine years ago. Her three medals make her the Republic's most bemedalled Olympian.

She was eliminated at the quarter-finals at Rio 2016, while the women's team lost the bronze playoff.

This is her fourth Olympics, a joint record with former paddler Li Jiawei and swimmer Joscelin Yeo.