What a win! Hongkonger Doo Hoi-kem serves No.1 Liu Shiwen in table tennis Olympic qualifying event

By staff writer

Nineteen-year-old beats China star Liu Shiwen in six games to delight home fans

By staff writer |

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Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong returns the ball to Liu Shiwen of China during the Asian Table Tennis Qualification Tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.

You have been served.

Hong Kong table tennis star Doo Hoi-kem downed world number one Liu Shiwen at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium last night to take a giant step towards a place in the Rio Olympics.

Playing in front of her home fans at the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Hong Kong, Doo – 19 – had the game of her short career so far against the China star, for a 4-2 victory.

Liu has consistently been ranked the best or second-best female table tennis player in the world since 2012. Doo, ranked 25, raced into a three-game lead but then missed a match point.

She might have wobbled when her much more experienced opponent won the next two, but she closed out the win 11-9, 11-5, 12-10, 10-12, 4-11, 11-7.

"I never expected to beat her," admitted Doo, who was thrashed 4-0 when they last met in the Asian Cup last year.

"She is the world number one and she is from world powerhouses China, who we never come close to beating.

"My coach told me before the match even if you are going to lose, you have to lose in great style by putting up a close fight as much as possible. We had never thought of such an emphatic result."

Liu, who also missed the London Olympic Games four years ago, perhaps folded under the pressure of making it to Rio as she had to win in Hong Kong to confirm her place in China's super-strong Olympic team.

The 25-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, said her fate was no longer in her own hands.

"It's the coaches who make the decision [on Olympic selection] and I have to work hard in the next couple of months to win their support," she said.

Hong Kong coach Chan Kong-wah praised Doo.

"They thought they could easily beat us and were caught by surprise when Liu suddenly found herself 3-0 down," said Chan.

"Liu made a comeback after Doo missed the match point in the fourth game, but she was able to hang in there."

Doo will now take on Jeon Ji-hee, of South Korea.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Lee Ho-ching overcame her jinx at the stadium as she upset Ai Fukuhara of Japan 4-3 to join Doo in reaching the women’s quarter-finals.

Four years ago at the same venue, favourite Lee was expected to book her Olympic ticket to London but poor performances deprived her of the chance, although she did make it later through the final world qualification.