SINGAPORE will at least retain its bronze medal at the International Table Tennis Federation World Team Cup, and it has its youngest and lowest-ranked paddler to thank for it.
World No. 130 Isabelle Li's 3-2 victory over a much higher-ranked Lee Ho Ching (No. 20) in the fifth match of the tie against Hong Kong on Friday in Dubai ensured the Republic would have a spot in the semi-finals against China the next day.
The quarter-final draw did not favour Singapore, who were matched with the toughest opponents possible in the last eight. Hong Kong, which boasts of veteran Jiang Huajun, were joint bronze medallists at the World Team Table Tennis Championships last year.
World No. 13 Yu Mengyu was sent packing 0-3 by Lee in the first match of the tie. Yu and Feng are largely the backbone of the team and are depended upon heavily to win their respective singles matches. Yu and Isabelle Li were also beaten 0-3 by Doo Hoi Kem and Jiang in the doubles match.
World No. 5 Feng accounted for the two other points for Singapore when she won both her singles match against Jiang (3-0) and Doo (3-0).
The tournament is competed in the Olympic format, with a doubles match sandwiched between two singles matches.
Singapore were silver medallists in 2009 and 2010, before two bronze medals at the 2011 and 2013 editions. There are no bronze medal play-offs at the World Team Cup.