Coach pays tribute as trio of Hong Kong players exit Asian Cup
Tang Peng and Jiang Tianyi earn tributes from coach Chan as they are knocked out of the quarters along with compatriot Jiang Huajun
Tang Peng put up a brave fight before going out of the GAC Group Asian Cup as all three Hong Kong players were knocked out of the quarter-finals at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai yesterday.
The 32-year-old brushed aside Sharath Kamal Achanta of India in the morning's qualification play-off to sneak through to the last eight.
But his impressive performance against mainlander Yan An earned high praise from acting head coach Chan Kong-wah despite a 4-2 defeat in the US$100,000 tournament.
"His skill is always there and if he can get the right mentality, he is still a force to be reckoned with," said Chan. "Today, he proved he can be as good as any top player."
Tang lost the first two games to Yan only after deuce, then came back strongly to level the score at 2-2.
However, Yan's speed and power were always superior and once he raised the tempo, he made no mistake winning the next two games 11-9, 11-6 to wrap up the match.
Chan also paid tribute to Jiang Tianyi, who lost to Chuang Chih-Yuan of Taiwan 4-1 in the last eight. "He won all his three matches in the group stage and that was a marvellous result, but his nagging neck injury is still troubling him and he needed medication before his quarter-final tie," said the coach.
The London Olympic Games quarter-finalist took the first game 13-11 after deuce but that was as good as it got against the Taiwan No1.
In the women's singles, Hong Kong's Jiang Huajun could do little to stop top seed Liu Shiwen of China, losing 4-0 including two deuce games. Liu, who is currently second in the world, won 11-8, 11-6, 12-10 and 13-11.
Jiang had some consolation as she clinched two consecutive victories in the play-offs, beating Yu Mengyu and Feng Tianwei, both of Singapore, to finish a respectable fifth.
Both finals today are all Chinese affairs. In the men's singles, top seed and defending champion Xu Xin will meet Yan while Liu takes on Wu Yang in the women's final.
Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan and South Korean Seok Ha-jung will compete in the women's bronze medal play-off while Chuang and Noshad Alamiyan of Iran go head to head in the men's.