JAKARTA: Yu Mengyu ensured the Singapore table tennis squad will not return home from the 2018 Asian Games empty handed after qualifying for the women's singles semi-finals on Friday (Aug 31).
Yu beat Chinese Taipei's Cheng Iching 4-1 (11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3) in her quarter-final tie. She faces China's Wang Manyu in the semi-finals at noon on Saturday.
If Yu wins, she will contest the gold medal match on Saturday evening. She will be awarded a joint-bronze medal if she loses the semi-final tie as there will not be a third-place playoff.
Speaking to the media after her win over Cheng, Yu said: "Yes, I can’t believe it myself that I’m able to win a medal ... I’ve won, so definitely it’s a breakthrough."
"I haven’t played against this opponent (Cheng) for four-five years, so I wasn’t sure how she has changed. She is ranked quite high in the world, so before the match I focused on staying relaxed and going all out during the match."
Cheng is currently ranked eight in the world while Yu is 47th.
Yu's medal is the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Singapore's table tennis squad.
The women were eliminated by South Korea in the quarter-finals of the team event. Yu and her teammate Gao Ning also failed to get past the quarter-finals in the mixed doubles when they lost to China 3-0.
Feng Tianwei and Gao Ning both crashed out in the women's and men's singles respectively on Friday.
Feng, who is ranked 11th in the world, lost 4-0 to South Korea's world No 21 Jeon Ji-hee in the round of 16.
Speaking to the media after her loss, Feng said: "Today I feel my performance was average. That's because the opponent was more aggressive and faster, and I couldn't keep up with her speed. I think improvements are needed in all areas, especially with using my left hand.
"From this competition, it's clear to see that some areas of my play are still lacking. I'll need to continue to work on those areas ... perhaps becoming more aggressive."
She also lamented about a lack of sparring partners, stating this as another possible reason for her defeat.
"That's why when it comes down to the wire, the opponent has more ways to achieve points. I'm poorer than my opponent in that aspect. I didn't take my chances, especially when I was leading by one or two points. A lot of those small opportunities, I didn't take them," Feng said.
Gao Ning was also eliminated in the round of 16. Gao, who would be retiring after the tournament, lost to China's Lin Gaoyuan 1-4.
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