Singapore Smash 2023: Singapore Paddlers Fly the Flag High with Big Wins in Main Draw Weekend
Notable wins for Men's Singles Izaac Quek, Koen Pang and Mixed Doubles pair Clarence Chew and Zeng Jian keep Singapore camp buzzing
Izaac Quek jubilant after winning a point in his match against Achanta. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
Singapore, 13 March 2023 - It was a good opening weekend in the 2023 WTT Singapore Smash for Singapore's paddlers with notable wins for Izaac Quek, Koen Pang (Men's Singles) and Mixed Doubles Pair Zeng Jian and Clarence Chew; and valuable match experience opportunities for their youthful teammates such as Zhou Jingyi and Beh Kun Ting in the tournament's main draw.
Rising star Zhou Jingyi may not have won her match, but clocked valuable tournament experience. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
Izaac Quek Makes History
Izaac Quek becomes first Singaporean man to win a main draw singles match in the WTT Singapore Smash
Izaac Quek became the first Singapore man to win a main draw singles match. The 16-year-old showed incredible steel to close out a 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 12-10) victory at the famed Infinity ∞ Arena (Hall 1) over India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, who had defeated the Singaporean in straight games at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Singapore's Izaac Quek executing a serve in his match against India's Sharath Kamal Achanta. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
A jubilant Quek, who had lost to the same opponent at the Commonwealth Games last year, said: "I did not think much about the first victory, I was just thinking that I have to play my best. I am always the underdog in these big competitions so I am just here to give it my all. I still have more upcoming matches and I hope to bring the same mentality to each match.
"Achanta is a very experienced player, he has been playing for many years. He changed a lot of his rhythm and made some changes to his gameplay so I had to adapt slowly. The nerves started coming in because I realized I was closer to winning the match. So I am happy that I was able to calm myself down and change my tactics to bring the win today.
Singapore's Izaac Quek keeping his cool to clinch his match against India's Sharath Kamal Achanta. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
"I did not think much (during the match) but after I finished the last point, all the thoughts came in. I am really happy. I have been looking forward to this competition for a very long time because it is a very big competition that I am very lucky to be playing in, because I am a wildcard and I am in Singapore. I would like to thank WTT and STTA for making this competition possible for everyone here.
Singapore's Koen Pang punches his fist to celebrate a point in his match against Nicholas Lum of Australia. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
Koen Pang defeats World Number 44 Nicholas Lum
Singapore table tennis player Koen Pang won his opening singles match at Singapore Smash 2023 on Sunday (12 March), defeating world No. 44 Nicholas Lum of Australia 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-4) at the OCBC Arena.
The 20-year-old left-handed Singaporean, who is ranked 131st in the world, revealed he had been feeling tense about the match since the draw was announced on Thursday. Those nerves did not show in the Infinity Arena on Sunday, however, as Pang dominated from start to finish to clinch his biggest win on home ground so far.
Singapore's Koen Pang makes a serve in his match against Nicholas Lum of Australia. PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS
Pang, the 2019 SEA Games champion, said: "I've been preparing for this match since the draw came out and I've been feeling quite tense and nervous the past few days, so I'm glad it's over. We saw each other play at the Commonwealth Games (in 2022) and I did some research by watching his videos on Youtube to see how he plays against left handers. I prepared myself well mentally and technically and I'm very glad that I was able to play my game.