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Newsflash: Wang Yuegu and Feng Tianwei through to World Cup semis; Singapore assured of at least a bronze

Singapore has assured itself of at least a bronze medal at the Volkswagen Women’s World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after national paddlers Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu reached the semi-finals of the tournament tonight.

A day after Li Jiawei’s shocking group stage exit from the competititon, after she lost two of her three group matches, either Feng or Wang is slated to equal Li’s bronze medal finish at the 2006 World Cup, Singapore’s best result at the tournament to date. 

Feng caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament this evening when she sent world no 2 and Olympic bronze medallist Guo Yue crashing out of the quarter-finals.

Singapore's Feng Tianwei is through to the semi-finals of the Volkswagen Women's World Cup (picture taken from www.daylife.com)

Singapore's Feng Tianwei is through to the semi-finals (Picture taken from http://www.daylife.com)

World No 9 Feng had booked her berth in the last eight of the competition by beating Holland’s Li Jiao 4-1 (13-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5) in the afternoon to finish second in her group. But it looked like she drew the short straw for her efforts when she was drawn to face Guo in the quarter-finals.

After all, top seed Guo had emerged as the hot favourite to win the World Cup after the withdrawal of compatriots Zhang Yining (world No 1) and Wang Nan (world No 5).  Wang defeated Zhang in last years final. She had also looked the part after breezing through her three group matches without defeat.

However, it was the 21-year-old Feng who raced to a 2-0 lead when she took the first two sets 11-9 and 11-6. Guo reduced the deficit when she won the third set 11-7. But Feng came storming back from the momentary setback to win 11-6 and 11-9 for the eventual 4-1 triumph.

Feng will now meet Hong Kong’s Tie Yana in the semi-finals. World No 10 Tie reached the last four when she pipped South Korean chopper Kim Kyung Ah 4-3 (11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 17-19, 11-7) in a thrilling quarter-final clash.

Meanwhile, world no 7 Wang Yuegu overcame a tenacious Gao Jun 4-2 in her quarter-final match to book a semi-final clash against China’s Li Xiaoxia who beat Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun 4-1 (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 11-6).

Like Guo Yue, Wang had qualified from the group stage with a clean 3-0 win record. She chalked up her third win this afternoon with a 4-1 demolition of Malaysia’s Beh Lee Wei (11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6).

But the 39-year-old Gao Jun, a former Chinese national player in the 1990s who is now representing the US, turned out to be a trckier opponent in the quarter-finals.

After Wang took the first set 11-5, she came back to level the score to 1-1 with a 11-8 win in the next set. Wang made it 2-1 with a 11-3 win in the third set but Gao made it all square again with a 13-11 win in the fourth set.

But Wang eventualy triumphed. After a hard-fought 15-13 win in the fifth set, she rode on that momentum to take the deciding set 11-7 for a 4-2 win.

By the way, Li Jiawei managed to avoid the embarrassment of finishing bottom of her group this afternoon. She defeated Hungary’s Georgina Pota 4-2 (11-13, 4-11, 14-12, 11-4, 13-11, 11-9) in her last group match to finish third n Group C.  

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Related links:

6 Sept: Newsflash -World Cup shocker as Li Jiawei crashes out in group stage

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

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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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