Singapore’s defending bronze medallist Feng Tianwei will likely have to face defending Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia of China if she is to reach the final of the women’s table tennis singles in Rio.
Let's cheer on our TeamSG paddlers Feng Tianwei (left) and Yu Mengyu as they compete in the women's singles and team events. Photo: Sport Singapore
The draw for the table tennis competition was held on Wednesday at the Riocentro Pavilion 3 venue which will host the 2016 competition and gave Tianwei a challenging route to gold.
Singapore’s world number four, who is the second seed in Rio, has been given a bye to the third round and should she progress from her opening encounter, she will probably face Liu Jia of Austria.
A quarter-final with the vastly experienced Ai Fukuhara of Japan would likely await before a showdown with the formidable Li, who triumphed in London four years ago.
Feng has a good record against both Liu and Fukuhara but will be taking nothing for granted in what is a highly competitive field.
Team-mate Yu Mengyu, making her Olympic debut, was placed in the same half of the draw as top seed Ding Ning of China but, should she advance, she will not have to face the favourite until the last eight.
Let's cheer on our TeamSG paddler Gao Ning as he competes in the men's singles event. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Singapore women’s team, bronze medallists in London 2012, were placed in the same half of the bracket as favourites China with a match-up in the semi-final looking likely.
To get to the last four though, Team Singapore’s trio of Tianwei, Mengyu and Zhou Yi Han will have to negotiate a strong South Korea in the quarter-finals.
China’s Ding said that she is well aware that Singapore would represent a strong challenge to her team, should they meet.
“I think the Singapore team has always been strong but we have been preparing very well. I think if we meet in the semi-finals it will be a brilliant game,” she told the post-draw press conference.
In the men’s draw, Singapore’s Gao Ning, entering his third Olympics, will begin in the second round against Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall, if he can beat his preliminary round opponent.
Chen Feng will play Finland’s Benedek Olah in the first round.
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