Table tennis: Feng Tianwei suffers second first-round defeat in two weeks

Table tennis: Feng Tianwei suffers second first-round defeat in two weeks

SINGAPORE – Three-time Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei suffered another first-round defeat after she lost to German Petrissa Solja on Thursday (Nov 19) in the round of 16 at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Finals in Zhengzhou, China.

It was Feng’s second loss at the first hurdle in consecutive weeks after she fell to world No. 27 Lily Zhang a week ago at the ITTF Women’s World Cup in Weihai.

Feng, 34, is ranked ninth in the world. She has a silver and two bronze Olympic medals and is seeking to add to her collection at next year’s Tokyo Games, which will be her fourth appearance at the Olympics.

Up 8-2 in the sixth game at the Gymnasium of Zhengzhou Olympic Sports Center, Feng was on course to force the match to a deciding game.

But world No. 20 Solja won nine of the next 10 points to take the victory with a score of 4-2 (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).

Solja told the ITTF website: “It was a roller coaster match, with a lot of ups and downs. In the last game I was 2-8 down because I rushed it too much knowing I had the chance to win this match. I tried to stay calm, take it slow and I am very satisfied with my performance.

“I also enjoy being able to play in front of spectators again.”

Feng’s next stop is Macau for a promotional World Table Tennis showcase event from Nov 25 to 29.

Before these events in China, her last event was the Qatar Open in March, after which she returned to Singapore as a precautionary measure during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. The circuit breaker also meant she resumed training only in June.

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