Table tennis: Feng Tianwei falls at first hurdle of T2 Diamond Singapore to world No. 1 Chen Meng

Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei at the Seamaster T2 Diamond 2019 Malaysia.
Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei at the Seamaster T2 Diamond 2019 Malaysia.PHOTO: T2 DIAMOND SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Women's world No. 1 paddler China's Chen Meng showed no remorse when she overpowered home favourite Feng Tianwei 4-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3) at the Seamaster T2 Diamond Singapore on Friday (Nov 22).

The whitewash was sweet revenge for the 25-year-old, who conceded just 19 points at Our Tampines Hub, one fewer than the 20 she mustered when she was stunned 4-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-4, 11-8) by Feng at the German Open in October.

Chen, who will meet South Korea's world No. 20 Jeon Ji-hee in Saturday's quarter-finals, said: "At the German Open, I made many unforced errors and was often on the back foot. Tonight, I managed to reduce the errors and was more pro-active.

"Having played each other many times (Chen holds a 7-1 lead in their head-to-head), we know each other's playing styles very well, so I focused more on getting my first three strokes right.

"I was prepared for a tough game, but the tactics and execution today were very good."

World No. 9 Feng has enjoyed a renaissance of late, and returned to the world's top 10 for the first time since June 2018, as she plots one last hurrah at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

After struggling against Chinese and Japanese opponents in previous years, Feng achieved significant breakthroughs and Chen was her biggest scalp of late.

The 33-year-old is Singapore's most bemedalled Olympian with one silver and two bronzes and claimed a bronze medal at the ITTF Women's World Cup in October.

However, Feng revealed she was still recovering from a bout of flu and jetlag from last week's Austrian Open. Fatally, she made a whopping 40 unforced errors to Chen's 20.

She said: "I have not been having good rest since the Austrian Open, and I was up against the world No. 1.

 
 
 
 

"She must have analysed her loss to me, as she made changes to her service and I struggled with my receiving. Overall, she is the stronger player and I approached this game with a learning attitude.

"I must thank the fans for their support. I heard their cheers, and I appreciate them. I will take some time to rest after this before heading to the Philippines for the SEA Games, where I hope to bring more glory to Singapore."

Saturday's other women's quarter-finals will see two all-Chinese clashes - Sun Yingsha faces Ding Ning and Chen Xintong takes on Wang Manyu - while the Japanese paddlers Mima Ito and Hitomi Sato square off.

In the men's division, 17-year-old Taiwanese Lin Yun-ju's meteoric rise continues as he edged South Korea's world No. 14 Jang Woojin 4-2 (10-11, 11-7, 10-11, 5-3, 5-3, 5-4) in a nail-biting match.

While Lin, the Seamaster T2 Diamond Malaysia winner, wasted seven game points, he stuck with his aggressive game and will meet Germany's world No. 16 Patrick Franziska in the last eight of the US$500,000 ($681,450) tournament.

The soft-spoken Lin, who has improved from world No. 134 in January 2018 to his current No. 10 ranking, said: "I guess my mentality was better when I was trailing. I didn't over-think things and just played my normal game.

"Of course, it would be better if I can win earlier, but any win is good. With every big win, expectations and pressure mount, but I'm trying to get used to it and not think too much."

The other quarter-finals see an all-Japanese showdown between Koki Niwa and Tomokazu Harimoto, while China's Xu Xin takes on South Korea's Jeoung Young-sik, and Japan's Jun Mizutani meets China's Lin Gaoyuan.