Singapore paddler Li Jiawei, who helped Singapore to win the women’s table tennis team silver last week, is the Republic’s only hope left in the women’s singles competition after tonight’s quarter-final matches.
The 26-year-old defeated Wang Chen of the US 15-13, 11-6, 12-10, 13-15, 11-4 to reach the semi-finals for the second consecutive Olympics. But it is unlikely that the world No 6 will advance to the final as she will be facing her arch-nemesis, Zhang Yining in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Li has not beaten Zhang, the world No 1, in 12 clashes to date, the latest defeat coming in the team final where she lost in four sets.
At the 2004 Athens Games, Li lost 3-4 to North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the sing;e semi-finals after taking a 3-1 lead. She then lost 1-4 to South Korea’s Kim Kyung Ah in the bronze-medal play-off after taking the first game.
Zhang enters tomorrow’s sem-final after beating Singapore’s Feng Tianwei 4-1.
Don’t let the score fool you though.
Feng, who became her team’s heroine after grabbing two crucial wins in its semi-final win over South Korea last week, was a stubborn opponent to shrug off, going toe-to-toe with Zhang in furious rallies before eventually capitulating 11-13, 14-12, 12-14, 10-12, 11-13.
The other semi-final will be between Chinese compatriots Wang Nan, the world No 5, and Guo Yue, the world No 2.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan