KUALA LUMPUR - The Singapore women's table tennis team's hopes of clinching a medal at the World Team Table Tennis Championships received a boost when they beat third seeds Netherlands 3-2 on Wednesday (Mar 2).
It was the Republic's final group game, and ensured they topped Group C ahead of the third seed Dutch team.
Group winners get a bye into the quarter-final, while the second- and third-placed teams go to the round of 16.
This means avoiding strong teams like China and Japan. Semi-finalists are assured of a medal as there is no third-place play-off.
In the deciding fifth singles, Yu Mengyu saw off veteran Li Jiao 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 to round up a thrilling encounter.
World No. 8 Feng Tianwei, who has played eight matches already, lost the first singles to Li Jiao 10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 7-11 while clearly troubled by a shoulder injury.
Yu Mengyu then beat Li Jie 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 in the second singles. Isabelle Li was next, but lost to Britt Eerland 9-11, 7-11, 7-11.
Feng, who was icing her shoulder during the break, stepped up in the fourth singles to defeat Li Jie 11-7, 11-3, 11-9.
This set up the deciding fifth singles between Yu and Li Jiao.
An emotional Feng, who broke down at the mixed zone, thanked Yu for her two wins.
She said: "Mengyu did really well today, she carried the team. I tried but the injury was too much."
Yu said: "I'm really inspired by Tianwei's fighting spirit and how she refused to give up despite the injury."
Li Jiao also hailed Feng's fighting spirit. "Her spirit is really commendable, I think we both hold each other in high regard."