Deaton fights back for table tennis victory
27 July 2002
English champion Nicola Deaton had the partisan crowd on their toes as she battled back from two games down in the final set to win a 3-1 victory against Malaysia.
Seventh seeded Malaysia, without their number one Lin Jing Yao, had led from the first set when Lee Wei Beh, Deaton’s opponent in the crucial final set, defeated the hosts’ No 2, Helen Lower 11-6, 11-6, 11-3.
Then Deaton displayed fine counter-attacking and left-side drives to defeat Sock Khim Ng 11-7, 11-6, 11-l3, 11-2.
A jubilant Deaton said: “I believed I could have won. The turning point was in the fifth set when I was leading 5-1, then at the change of ends I lost two points. Afterwards I was very tense.”
Next to stride up in England’s defence and put them ahead was Katy Parker. Her excellent combination of defence and forehand smash forced Lee Fong Beh into enforced errors with three hits off the table and an eventual 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 win.
Commenting on her next matches Parker said: “We’ve got a match against Canada tonight, which we’ll want to win. Because if we place first, we’ll have an easier run in the quarter-finals.”
Beh’s powerful top-spin was a dominant factor in the fourth set. But then Deaton, ranked 12th in the Commonwealth, fought back, helped by a good cross-table flip.
It all hinged on the fifth, in which Beh took a commanding 5-1 lead only for Deaton to bounce back to 7-7 and take the match 12-10.
This victory means England will avoid playing either of the top two seeds, Singapore and Canada, in the quarter-finals, and should collect at least a bronze medal.
In other matches, there was a major upset in Group C when fifth seeded India defeated third seeds New Zealand over five sets. This was despite Chunli Li (NZL), ranked fourth in the Commonwealth, winning both her sets in three straight games.
Australia also had a convincing win over Nigeria 3-0.
Info News Service/gjb/eg/bn