Table tennis: Chen Meng & Co stamp their mark at Singapore Smash, Latest Others News - The New Paper

Table tennis: Chen Meng & Co stamp their mark at Singapore Smash

She remembers Singapore for the delicious black pepper crabs and durians. Yesterday, Olympic women's singles champion Chen Meng served up a tantalising table tennis treat for fans, including a rare bagel at the inaugural World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smash at the OCBC Arena.

The world No. 2 was in merciless form in her quarter-final against Japan's eighth-ranked Kasumi Ishikawa, winning 3-1 (11-8, 9-11, 11-0, 11-7).

Of her relentless third game, 28-year-old Chen said: "I knew I was 10-0 up, but I had lost the second game, so I just wanted to be more aggressive and decisive. I wanted to give my all because you'll never know how a lapse will affect the momentum or the next game, especially in a best-of-five-games format."

She will next face teammate and world No. 5 Wang Yidi, who beat France's world No. 67 Yuan Jia Nan 3-1 (11-9, 12-10, 12-14, 12-10). Wang had beaten her 4-3 at the same venue three months ago in the semi-finals of the WTT Cup Finals.

Chen was among the Chinese team who dominated proceedings yesterday as all seven who featured in the men's and women's quarter-finals progressed to the semi-finals.

The women's singles semi-finals today are an all-China affair, with world No. 1 Sun Yingsha taking on world champion and fourth-ranked Wang Manyu in a repeat of the World Table Tennis Championships final.

Sun, who had already won the mixed doubles title with Wang Chuqin on Wednesday, maintained her perfect record of not dropping a game in the singles here by beating Japan's world No. 6 Hina Hayata 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-9).

Wang also displayed her world champion credentials by beating Austria's 19th-ranked Sofia Polcanova 3-0 (12-10, 11-8, 11-2).

The 23-year-old said: "I'm happy my team-mates and I have filled the semi-finals, which shows the overall strength of our team. We are all very familiar with each other's game, so we hope to put up exciting matches for the fans."

Meanwhile, the men's singles final four are occupied by three top Chinese players.

World No. 5 Liang Jingkun beat Sweden's 28th-ranked Kristian Karlsson 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-9) to set up a semi-final meeting tomorrow with two-time Olympic men's singles champion Ma Long. World No. 2 Ma was stretched in his 3-2 (5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7) win over Chinese Taipei's seventh-ranked Lin Yun-Ju.

Crowd favourite Ma, 33, said: "Mental strength was important for me to either follow my gameplan or find solutions during the match. I couldn't settle into a rhythm early on, and only after engaging him in a few rallies, and launching some counterattacks, was I able to find a way back."

World No. 1 and world champion Fan Zhendong had a more straightforward 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-8) win over Germany's 16th-ranked Patrick Franziska. Standing in his way is Japan's world No. 49 Yukiya Uda, who is the lowest-ranked player left in the tournament.

Demonstrating his trademark chiquita - backhand topspin with strong sidespin - flick, the 20-year-old beat 41st-ranked Qiu Dang 3-2 (11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6). The doubles specialist said: "I'm surprised to make it to the men's singles semi-final but I will give it my all and hope my forehand and chiquitas come off."


At OCBC Arena Hall 1 from 7pm

Women's singles semi-finals

Wang Yidi (Chn) v Chen Meng (Chn)
Sun Yingsha (Chn) v Wang Manyu (Chn)

Men's doubles final

Fan Zhendong/Wang Chuqin (Chn) v Yukiya Uda/Shunsuke Togami (Jpn)

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