JOHOR BARU - Singapore's Feng Tianwei was in imperious form during the third round of the T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League (T2Apac) on Thursday (Aug 3), dispatching defending SEA Games champion Suthasini Sawettabut 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-10, 5-1.
Victory was especially sweet for the world No. 6 at the Pinewood Studios in the Iskandar region in Johor Baru, Malaysia, as it was over the same opponent who had sensationally ended her SEA Games hopes in the group stage two years ago on home soil.
Said Feng, whose win also scored five points for her T2Apac team, captained by retired Danish paddler Michael Maze: "I felt like there was more at stake playing her today, because I lost to her before. The win is also encouraging with the SEA Games around the corner again."
Despite the convincing win, the 30-year-old singled out Sawettabut as her biggest challenge for the upcoming SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur later this month.
"I didn't expect beforehand that I would be able to win all five games, I thought our chances were about even. Every game was tight, but I think I played better at the critical junctures," said Feng.
In the third game, Feng fell into a 0-5 hole, but replied with eight straight points and a 11-1 run to take the game.
Sawettabut acknowledged Feng's superiority on the day, but still fancies her chances at the SEA Games.
"(Feng) played really well. Before, when I played her at the SEA Games, she was not so good, but she was much better today," said the 23-year-old, who is on Swede Jorgen Persson's T2Apac team.
"But my preparation is good, and I hope I can win again in Malaysia."
The inaugural T2Apac competition does not follow traditional table tennis rules.
Instead of best-of-five or best-of-seven games, the T2Apac adopts a time-based format, where singles players try to win as many games as possible during each 24-minute match.
Umpires, called referees in this competition, have the authority to call for "kill-zone games" towards the end of certain matches, where the first player to score five points, instead of 11, wins the game.
Teams play six matches, with the team with more total games won declared the victor of the fixture.
Anchored by Feng's and team-mate Timo Boll's 5-0 wins, Team Maze beat Team Persson 19-11.