Hong Kong teen Doo Hoi-kem’s dream run at table tennis’ Olympic qualifier comes to an end in semi-finals
Nineteen-year-old beaten by Olympic champion Li Xiaoxia
The fairy tale of Doo Hoi-kem in the Asia Olympic qualifiers ended abruptly in the semi-finals after the youngster was handed a harsh 4-1 defeat by Li Xiaoxia of China in the women’s singles on Thursday.
After overcoming world number one Liu Shiwen on Wednesday and former mainland player Jeon Jihee, now playing for South Korea, on Thursday morning, Doo hit the wall against Li, the defending Olympic champion and one of the few grand slam winners in table tennis.
“I knew it would be tough against Li as she was the only Chinese player remaining in the semi-finals. They just could not afford losing any more,” said the 19-year-old after her 12-10, 11-2, 11-6, 7-11, 11-2 defeat.
“Li had a quick start to the match, taking the initiative soon and giving me little chance to respond, but there is no disappointment of losing to such a classy player.
“I am happy with my overall performance in stage one and hopefully it will be a better stage two for me as I will face the challenges from players who rank lower than me.”
Li, the 2012 Olympic champion who also won the World Championship (2013) and World Cup (2008) singles titles, said the result proved the difference between the two.
“We are both prepared for the match and wanted to win it,” said the 28-year-old mainlander. “In the end the better player won today.
“But having said that, Doo has improved from the last time I beat her in the Kuwait Open just last month. Perhaps she had a great run here in the tournament which has given her a lot more self-confidence.”
Earlier, Doo saw off Jeon in four straight games to reach the semi-finals.
Hong Kong teammate Lee Ho-ching’s campaign came to an end though, as she lost 4-1 to Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan.