GLASGOW: Singapore are guaranteed Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals in the women’s table tennis after Lay Jian Fang failed in her attempt to break their stranglehold yesterday.
The Australian 42-year-old’s old fashioned “penhold” style could not get the better of second seed Yu Mengyu who won quite comfortably 11-3, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.
Yu faces her compatriot and world number four Feng Tianwei in the final scheduled later yesterday.
The top seed survived a scare in the second game to win 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 against compatriot Lin Ye but will still go into the gold medal match as favourite.
“Tianwei has a lot of experience of big matches and she’s had some great results,” said Yu. “Her ability and experience are first rate.
“I prepared really thoroughly for the match with Lay as it was the semi-final. I stuck to my plan and when she tried to mix things up I stayed firm.”
Australia coach Jens Lang believes it is difficult for the rest of the Commonwealth Games to compete with the professional players from Singapore, but believes they deserved to be considered as the best in the world.
“There was one big difference,” he said. “They are all professional players. They spend six hours a day practising. So when it comes to these high pressure games, they can perform to a consistent level.”
“They are all young athletic girls playing with a modern style. They make the game very fast and you’re constantly under pressure because they always attack the ball with forward rotation.”
“Jian doesn’t play professionally and doesn’t have the experience. She had no time to execute.
“I’ve seen the best Chinese players heaps of times. These Singaporean players are up there with the best in the world.”
But there was an upset in the men’s doubles semi-finals as Indian pairing Sharath Kamal and Anthony Arputharaj put out second seeds Yang Zi and Zhan Jian from Singapore to spark wild scenes of celebration.
Despite that loss, the dominant nation in this sport at this Games are still represented in the final after top seeds Li Hun and Gao Ning beat England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford..
“They are monopolising table tennis so it is great to take them out,” said Kamal, ahead of yesterday evening’s final.
“But we haven’t done it all yet. In both the matches we were ranked number four, it’s normally 60-70 per cent we’ll win a medal but the gold medal match won’t be easy.”