Newsflash: World Cup shocker as Jiawei crashes out in group stage

Li Jiawei’s Volkswagen Women’s World Cup campaign has shockingly come to an end.

Game over for Li Jiawei in just four hours

Game over for Li Jiawei in just four hours

The world No 6 – who helped Singapore to win a historic silver medal at the Beijing Olympics last month – was considered a strong contender for a top-three finish at the Kuala Lumpur event after the withdrawal of world no 1 Zhang Yining and world No 5 Wang Nan, last year’s World Cup champion.

But the 27-year-old’s dreams of advancing from the group stages collapsed after two shock defeats in the space of four hours today.

In the biggest upset of the day, Jiawei went down 8-11, 4-11, 7-11 and 4-11 to Gao Jun of the US in the opening Group C encounter. 

Gao, 39, is ranked17th in the world but the veteran paddler made light of the gap in world rankings between her and Jiawei by cruising to an easy 4-0 whitewash.

Jiawei’s nightmare start got worse four hours later. Needing a win to stay in contention for one of the two qualifying spots from her group, she went down 1-4 instead to Hong Kong’s Tie Yana.

Ironically, Jiawei had gotten off to a good start against Tie, winning the first set 20-18. But it was as though that titanic battle took everything out of her as she crashed 9-11, 6-11, 5-11, 4-11 in the next four sets.

Jiawei has one more game to play tomorrow – against Georgina Pota of Hungary who is also out of contention after losing to Gao and Tie – and if she loses, she will end up bottom of the group.  

In stark contrast, Wang Yuegu became the first Singaporean to book her berth in the quarter-finals of the competition after racking up two wins today.

The world No 7 scored an easy 4-1 win (11-9, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6, 11-8) over Romania’s Daniela Dodean in her opening Group D match but was made to work for her second win by South Korean chopper Kim Kyung Ah.

The veteran Kim, a bronze medallist in the women’s singles at the 2004 Olympics, took Wang to the wire in a thrilling clash but in the end, Wang prevailed 4-3 (12-10, 9-11, 11-5,9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5).  

Whether Wang will be joined by compatriot Feng Tianwei in the quarter-finals remains to be seen. This is because Feng desperately needs to beat Holland’s Li Jiao in a do-or-die battle tomorrow. Both Feng and Li won one of their two Group B matches today.

Feng, ranked 9th in the world, easily defeated Australia’s Miao Miao 4-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5) in her opening match but lost 1-4 to Chinese world no 3 Li Xiaoxia tonight.

After losing her first set 9-11, Feng bounced back to take the second set 11-7. But despite fighting tooth-and-nail with Li, she eventualy went down 10-12, 6-11 and 14-16 in the next three sets.

World no 16 Li Jiao lost 0-4 (8-11, 6-11, 9-11, 6-11) to Li Xiaoxia in her first group match but bounced back to beat Miao Miao 4-2 ( 13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-3) to set up the crucial clash with Feng tomorrow.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

4 Sept: Newsflash – Singapore’s hopes at Volkswagen Women’s World Cup brighten

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