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Lim Say Heng
Monday, May 5, 2014

Sports

Clarence stars

The New Paper | Lim Say Heng | Monday, May 5, 2014

Chew Zhe Yu Clarence of Singapore hits a return against Par Gerell of Sweden during their men's singles 1/8 match at the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo on May 2, 2014.

He lost 4-1 to the same opponent just three months ago in the Kuwait Open men's singles qualifying.

But Clarence Chew exacted revenge on Sweden's Par Gerell yesterday at the World Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, giving his higher-ranked opponent a 3-0 hiding.

The duo faced off in the third singles, with the Round-of-16 tie finely balanced at 1-1.

The world No. 259 Singaporean was dominant from the get-go, and came away with a 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 victory.

Singapore's top men's singles player Gao Ning then beat Jens Lundqvist 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 in the fourth match to seal the team's 3-1 victory.

Men's national coach Yang Chuanning said: "Clarence is playing pretty well these days, and sometimes even better than Yang Zi. So he could even be our No. 2 player behind Gao Ning.

"He may have lost against this opponent before, but he knew that this player wasn't difficult to beat. He went into the match with confidence today and that showed in his play."

In the first match, world No. 14 Gao Ning was stretched to the rubber before beating Kristian Karlsson 7-11, 11-6, 16-18, 13-11, 11-5.

Coach Yang said: "It was a crucial match because it was a scene-setter for the rest of the tie.

"It could have gone either way in the fourth game but the opponent was too eager to finish off the match.

"Gao Ning seized the opportunity to take that game, and after that the fifth game was straightforward for us."

In the second singles against Lundqvist, Yang Zi took the first game 13-11, but lost the next three 11-5, 11-9, 11-6.

SWEET VICTORY

Yesterday's victory was sweet, considering that Singapore lost 3-1 to the Scandinavians in a 5th-8th placing match at the last world team championships in 2012. Singapore eventually finished eighth, while Sweden were sixth.

The Republic's paddlers will face Germany - to whom they lost 3-0 in the group stages this week - in today's quarter-finals.

Coach Yang said: "We have already achieved our top-eight target, so we will just go out there and play without any pressure."

Meanwhile, Feng Tianwei and Co will meet Romania in the women's team quarter-finals today.

The Europeans shocked world No. 2 South Korea 3-2 in the Round of 16 yesterday to advance to the last eight.

This article was published on May 3 in The New Paper.

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