Hong Kong heartbreak as women’s team crash out to Germany in table tennis quarter-finals
Men’s team beat Australia comfortably to progress, but next up face well-fancied Japan
Hong Kong crashed out of the women’s Olympic table tennis team event at the quarter-final stage after falling 3-1 to Germany at Riocentro Pavilion 3 on Saturday.
Han Yi gave the Germans victory when she defeated veteran Tie Yana 3-1 in the fourth rubber to give her team a surprise triumph and a place in the semi-finals against Japan.
Hong Kong’s men’s team, however, are still in the competition after easily defeating Australia 3-0 in their opening round match. But they face a tough quarter-final clash against Japan, who will start as favourites to progress into the last four.
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In the women’s match, Hong Kong started with Lee Ho-ching in the opening singles. But she was unable to give her side the start they needed, going down 3-0 to Han, whose chopping style caused the Hong Kong players all sorts of problems.
Teenager Doo Hoi-kem gave Hong Kong hope, along with some heart-stopping moments, as she saved a number of match points against Perissa Solja before edging her contest 3-2 to level the overall score at 1-1.
Solja and Shan Xiaona were always in control of the doubles against Lee and Tie Yana with Hong Kong squandering two game points in the third to hand Germany a 2-1 overall lead.
Hong Kong coach Li Ching decided to replace Lee, Hong Kong’s weak link so far in the match, with 37-year-old Tie for the reverse singles against Han.
Tie lost the first game 11-5 and it seemed the change failed to rattle the Germans. Although Tie won the next game 11-5, she was also unable to cope with Han’s patient play and was eventually worn down, losing 3-1.
All three Hong Kong players, along with Li, were fighting back tears after the match and Doo – seen as the future of Hong Kong women’s table tennis – paid tribute to Tie.
“We tried our best and we are very disappointed to have lost this match,” said Doo.
“Tie has been great to us, she did her best and she has been such a great mentor to us, teaching us what she knows.
“We are all also very sad for her.”
The men’s team had few problems against the Australians, winning nine straight games with ease.
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Tang Peng, a third-round casualty in the men’s singles, beat David Power 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-1) before Wong Chun-ting cruised past Yan Xin 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-2).
Wong and Ho Kwan-kit teamed up to beat Yan and Hu Heming 11-2, 11-5, 11-6.
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