RIO DE JANEIRO - Getting the better of world powerhouse China again proved to be mission impossible for Singapore, when the national women's table tennis team were routed 3-0 on Monday morning (Brazil time) in the semi-finals.
Feng Tianwei and Co will now play familiar foes Japan in the bronze play-off on Tuesday, in an attempt to retain the medal they had won four years ago at the London Olympics.
With a team that consisted of world No. 1 Liu Shiwen, 2016 singles champion Ding Ning and 2012 champion Li Xiaoxia (who is runner-up in the singles here), the odds against Singapore were always overwhelming.
Still, the team put up a creditable fight. Feng, up against Li in the first singles of the morning, was never more than three points behind her opponent as she was beaten 12-10, 11-8, 11-9.
Olympic debutante Zhou Yihan was called on next to play the match of her career, in her singles match against Ding Ning, the singles champion at these Games. She managed to take one game off the world No. 2, but eventually went out 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 2-11.
In the crucial doubles match, Yu Mengyu partnered Zhou to take on Ding and Liu, in an attempt to keep Singapore in the tie. The Singapore pair was no match for their Chinese rivals and were beaten 11-4, 11-1, 11-9.
Apart from Feng, the Republic's two other players are making their Olympic debuts. Yu is the world No. 13 while Zhou is 32nd.
In the bronze play-off against Japan, Feng, in particular, will need to recover from a thrashing by Ai Fukuhara in the quarter-finals of the singles for the team bronze play-off. Fukuhara whitewashed 4-0 then to put Feng, a singles bronze medallist from 2012, out of the running.