Singaporean paddler Chen Feng said he had allowed nerves to get the better of him on his Olympic debut as he bowed out with a 4-1 first round defeat to impressive Finn, Benedek Olah.
Feng struggled early on, going 2-0 down, before recovering to reduce the deficit in the third set. But the tall Olah, with his powerful back-hand, proved to be too much to handle as he ran out a comfortable winner.
TeamSG paddler Chen Feng against Finnish opponent Benedek Olah. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I was really nervous with this being a big occasion, and my first Olympics. I wasn’t able to do what I could normally do in practice,” Feng said after his loss at Pavilion 3 of the Riocentro complex.
“He started very strongly but it was the nerves that led to my errors,” he added.
“Overall, I didn’t handle serving and receiving very well”.
TeamSG paddler Chen Feng speaks to his coach Liu Jiayi. Photo: Sport Singapore
Olah said he had felt Feng’s nerves.
“I sensed that in the first two sets that he couldn’t get his attacks. He was really, really nervous and he let me be the more active. I felt that he was really nervous and that did give me some confidence,” he said.
But the Finn said he had been taken by surprise by what he called Feng’s ‘clever’ tactics.
“He played a different tactic than what I was expecting. I was hoping for harder shots, more spin, but he was playing slowly and low to the net and I couldn’t hit super hard. I would say he played smart against me.,” he said.
On Sunday, Singapore’s Gao Ning, entering his third Olympics, will be in action with his second round clash against Paul Drinkhall of Great Britain.
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