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Australia spoils Singapore's mixed doubles party

04 August 2002

The table tennis mixed doubles gold medal will go to either Australia or Singapore.

Table tennis

The final will be played later today at the Table Tennis Centre

An edge ball return serve from Australia's Brett Clarke gave him and his partner Lay Jim Fang a surprise victory over equal third seeds Zhang Tai Yong and Jing Jun Hong of Singapore in five games to rule out an expected all-Singapore final.

In the closing stages Singapore received a yellow card warning from the umpire after a complaint by Clarke that his opponents were being coached from the stands.

After being recently affected by pain in the rib region Clarke, although making some inevitable errors in the speed of the match, showed no lack of form. He commented:

"We didn't change anything. We just started to play better in the second set."

But there was never any doubt that reigning Commonwealth champions Duan Yong Jun and Li Jia Wei of Singapore would ensure the country's representation in the final.

As second seeds, they controlled the joint third seeds Peter Jackson and Li Chunli of New Zealand but it was anything but easy, only the third deciding game having a margin of more than two. Singapore's Yong Jin added:

"It's very important as it will be my last event at the Games."

As the third drew to a close, Jackson won a return to his partner's mid-high serve, to make the score 7-10 but then put a strong drive into the net to end the Kiwis' hopes.

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