Commonwealth Games: Singapore in final despite first loss in 12 years

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 27, 2014, 10:53 AM IST

Glasgow: Singapore`s women will face Malaysia in the final of the team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games despite losing a match for the first time since 2002.

They defeated India 3-1, with 18-year-old Indian Manika Batra, ranked 159 in the world, winning her match against world number 10 Yu Mengyu 3-2 to make it 1-1.

Singapore responded by winning the doubles rubber before Lin Ye beat Batra to take Singapore through.

The top seeds will come up against a Malaysia team that beat third seeds England in the quarter-finals earlier in the day before going on to beat second seeds Australia 3-1.

In the men`s event, Singapore, also strong favourites, beat New Zealand 3-0 to set up a semi-final against Nigeria after the Africans beat Australia 3-2.

England beat Wales 3-0 and will now face India, who beat host Scotland comfortably 3-0, in Sunday`s other semi-final.

Singapore women`s coach Jing Junhong was pleased with the way her team responded to the set-back of losing a match and is sure they will be better in the final.

"The second result was unexpected against Indian players playing very well," she said.

"We faced a lot of difficulties but that`s good going into the final. We can prepare more carefully. It will be more difficult so the loss isn`t a bad thing and it could be a good thing for our players.

"We will be ready to play Malaysia. We`re surprised to be facing them because they beat England and then suddenly beat Australia 3-1. We will prepare and concentrate for the final."

Batra claimed her performance has given her belief ahead of the singles competition.

She was pleased to have given Singapore a scare while picking up a point against them for the first time since the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

"It is pretty special. It makes me feel good and I`m very proud of myself," said Batra.

"We are confident that we can win (against Australia) and get bronze now. We will take bronze but we wanted gold. My performance gives me confidence for the singles."

After sharing the opening two matches against Australia, Malaysia moved ahead in the doubles when Ying Ho and Lee Wei Beh Mas beat Zhenhua Dederko and Zhang Ziyu 3-2.

Sock Khim Ng, who has returned to fitness after a serious knee problem last year, beat Dederko 3-1 in the to seal Malaysia`s place against Singapore.

Coach H Ng Kim Shan insisted he was not surprised by his team`s progress and said: "It`s not beyond our expectations.

"We had the chances to win and it just depends on our players. We`re already tired but we believed we had the chance.

"Singapore are the very best so we will think about how to do our best against them. It will be hard but we will try our best and these wins have given us belief."

Dederko felt the third match was the key to Australia`s defeat and said: "You know the doubles is the crucial one. If you win the doubles we win the game but because we lost it was really hard for us."

Nigeria`s Quadri Aruna won the decisive singles match for his team but accepts they will have to play in a different style against Singapore.

He said: "We just have to give our best, the Singapore players are all Chinese and they will play in that style. We have to change the way we play because they are very good players."

Scotland impressed on their way through to the quarter-finals after beating Canada to top their pool but they struggled against the quality of India from the start.

England`s Paul Drinkhall is expecting a difficult match against the Indians and said: "They`ve done well at the World Championships and they`ve got a good team.

"It will be a really close game but hopefully we can come out on top."