Tokyo Olympics: Yu Mengyu powers past 2 rivals in 1 day

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Singapore's Yu Mengyu celebrates a point against USA's Liu Juan during her women's singles round of 16 match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (PHOTO: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP)
Singapore's Yu Mengyu celebrates a point against USA's Liu Juan during her women's singles round of 16 match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (PHOTO: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP)

Reporting from Tokyo

TOKYO — In what is likely to be her final Olympics, Singapore paddler Yu Mengyu seems intent on making sure she leaves with a last hurrah.

On Tuesday (27 July), the 31-year-old - whose career has been blighted by debilitating injuries - powered past two opponents on the same day to book herself a spot in the women's singles quarter-finals, matching her performance at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

In the morning, she scored a minor upset in stunning world No. 8 Cheng I-ching of Taiwan 4-0 (11-5, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Then in the evening, the world No.47 was again in imperious form, fending off the United States' Liu Juan 4-2 (11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8) to book a last-eight tie with Japan's fifth seed Kasumi Ishikawa.

"I've had some injuries while preparing for battle – some days are better, some days are worse," she said after her win over Cheng.

"Now I'm here, I just want to give everything and not have any regrets."

Controlled match against higher-ranked opponent

Against Cheng, Yu showed scant regard for the gulf in rankings as she controlled the entire match, giving Cheng no opportunity to mount a comeback.

However, when asked about the key to her upset, she preferred to attribute it to Cheng being involved in the mixed doubles bronze-medal match the day before.

"All of her energy has gone into mixed doubles. I had a rest day yesterday and was able to better prepare for today. I think my preparations – whether in terms of rest or tactics – were more thorough," she told the official Olympic media service.

Yu had also beaten her second-round opponent, Portugal's Shao Jieni, in straight sets on Sunday. 

Another Singapore paddler, Feng Tianwei, crashed out of the women's singles last-16 as she lost 1-4 (11-13, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11) to Germany's Han Ying.

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