Table tennis: Singapore women undone by defensive Ukraine in last 16 of world team c'ships

Yu Mengyu of Singapore, who was carrying an injury from last month's Commonwealth Games, lost both her matches against Ukraine in the round of 16 in the World Team Table Tennis Championships at the Halmstad Arena in Sweden.
Yu Mengyu of Singapore, who was carrying an injury from last month's Commonwealth Games, lost both her matches against Ukraine in the round of 16 in the World Team Table Tennis Championships at the Halmstad Arena in Sweden.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Singapore women's table tennis team lost their round of 16 tie against Ukraine 2-3 at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, on Wednesday (May 2).

World No. 4 Feng Tianwei beat Tetyana Bilenko 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-2) in the first match to give the Republic the lead, but Ganna Gaponova pulled Ukraine level when the defensive specialist beat Yu Mengyu 3-2 (11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8) in the second match.

The Europeans then went ahead when Lin Ye lost 1-3 (9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11) to Margaryta Pesotska in the third match, but Feng pulled Singapore back into the tie when she thrashed Gaponova 3-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-3).

The 28-year-old Yu, who was carrying a shoulder injury, never looked comfortable against chopper Bilenko in the rubber match, and lost 0-3 (10-12, 9-11, 8-11) to concede the winning point to Ukraine, who will meet No. 2 seeds Japan on Thursday.

Feng and Co reached the quarter-finals at the last edition in 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Singapore men's bowed out of the group stage without a win, following their 0-3 loss to Japan on Wednesday.

The world No. 3 team took the lead in their final Group C tie when teenage sensation Tomokazu Harimoto, 14, beat 35-year-old veteran Gao Ning 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-6) in the first match.

Japan doubled their lead when world No. 11 Jun Mizutani beat Singapore's Ethan Poh, ranked 234th in the world, 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-5) in the second match, while world No. 29 Yuya Oshima secured the winning point when he beat unranked 16-year-old Beh Kun Ting 3-0 (11-3, 11-5, 11-3) in the third match.

Singapore were the only side in their group without a win and finished last.

Earlier in the competition, Gao and Co lost to Chinese Taipei (0-3), England (0-3), Belgium (2-3), and Belarus (0-3).

The team were also winless in the group stage in Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore will now play the placing matches for the 13th-24th positions, coming up first against India on Thuesday night.