Table tennis: All but one of S'pore's players through to World C'ships' 2nd round

SINGAPORE – Four of the Republic’s five players have made it to Day Two of the World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, where bigger challenges await on Wednesday (Nov 25, Singapore time).

On Tuesday, SEA Games men’s singles champion Koen Pang, 19, beat Italy’s world No. 163 Leonardo Mutti 4-1 (11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6). The world No. 161 will take on Brazil’s 38th-ranked Gustavo Tsuboi in the round of 64.

In the women’s singles, world No. 61 Lin Ye outlasted Thailand’s world No. 87 Orawan Paranang 4-3 (9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5) to set up a meeting against China’s Olympic champion Chen Meng. Lin, 25, had met Chen twice in 2019, with the world No. 1 winning both games by an aggregate of 7-1.

World No. 192 Goi Rui Xuan also required a decider to edge out Ukraine’s 186th-ranked Solomiya Brateyko 4-3 (9-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5). The 20-year-old will face Thailand’s world No. 38 Suthasini Sawettabut next.

Singapore’s top-ranked paddler Feng Tianwei is seeded eighth and received a bye to the next round where the world No. 11 will take on 169th-ranked Taiwanese Li Yu-Jhun.

The Republic’s only defeat of day one came when world No. 188 Wong Xin Ru lost 4-1 (11-6, 16-14, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9) to Chinese Taipei’s world No. 86 Liu Hsing-yin.

However, the 19-year-old will continue to see action in Houston as she teams up with Goi in the women’s doubles’ round of 64 on Thursday. The world’s 68th-ranked pair will play India’s 100th-ranked pair Sutirtha Mukherjee and Madhurika Patkar.

In the mixed doubles, world No. 66 Pang and Lin upset Egypt’s world No. 22 Khalid Assar and Yousra Helmy 3-2 (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7) to progress to the round of 32 where they are up against Turkey’s 91st-ranked Ibrahim Gunduz and Sibel Altinkaya on Thursday.

Pang said: “I played well today, but there are still some areas to improve on. I will continue to work on my game and aim to beat higher-ranked players at this tournament.”

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