2023-03-13 WTT Singapore Smash by Ken Chia 069A6973TeamSG's Izaac Quek vs Sweden's Mattias Falck at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : Team Nila Content Producer, Ken Chia



By Pearlyn Koh


Local table tennis fans were filled with immense pride at the OCBC Arena on Monday evening (13 March), as they witnessed Team Singapore's Izaac Quek (world number 242) score his biggest-ever career win, against Sweden’s Mattias Falck (world number 36)! This win at Singapore Smash 2023 was an even sweeter one, given that Izaac had to come back from 2 games down to claim this impressive win 3-2 (6-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).

16 year old Izaac set up the meeting with the 2021 World Championship Doubles gold medallist, following his upset against the reigning Commonwealth Games Gold medalist and world number 56, Sharath Kamal Achanta, on Saturday (11 March).

2023-03-13 WTT Singapore Smash by Ken Chia 069A3991TeamSG's Izaac Quek vs Sweden's Mattias Falck at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : Team Nila Content Producer, Ken Chia

31 year old Mattias is one of the few forehand short-pimpled players in the current professional men’s table tennis scene. And he became a household name after winning Silver at the ITTF World Championships 2019 - the first Swedish player to reach the Men’s Singles Finals since 1997!

With Mattias’ unique playing style, Izaac was prepared for a challenging battle as he began his quest in the Round of 32 match. In the first two games, the teenage paddler attempted to play aggressively. But his Swedish opponent’s quick and sudden forehand attacks caught the TeamSG athlete off-guard on several occasions. The 16 year old struggled to cope with the pace of the world number 36’s shots, which allowed the Swede to clinch the first 2 games in a convincing manner, 11-6 and 11-3.

2023-03-13 WTT Singapore Smash by Ken Chia 069A5752TeamSG's Izaac Quek in round of 32 at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : Team Nila Content Producer, Ken Chia


Undaunted, the young and fearless Izaac displayed wonderful fighting spirit and determination, as he refused to give up even when he was down by two games. His never-say-die spirit paid off, as things took a turn in the third game, with the world number 242 seeming to have found his winning strategy. The teenager focused on adding more quality to his forehand attacks, which caused some problems for his older opponent. Coupled with variations in his locations of serves and strong backhand receives, Mattias began making more unforced errors while Izaac appeared more confident and relaxed as he went on to win the next 2 games and forced the decider. And the crowd went wild at the Infinity Arena, as Izaac eventually came back from 10-8 down in the final game, to win 12-10 and take the overall victory 3-2!

"Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. But all I can say is, I'm very happy. The experience out there with such a big crowd and everybody supporting me – I'd like to thank everyone. I definitely heard them during the match and that's what brought me the win today. When I was 2-0 down, all I was telling myself was to think about the skills not about winning or losing and just give it my all. I had nothing to lose even when I was 2-0 down and even when things were not going my way, I didn't give up and I tried to think of more strategies to win," said Isaac in his post-match interview.

2023-03-13 WTT Singapore Smash by Ken Chia 069A6914-EditTeamSG's Izaac Quek in round of 32 at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : Team Nila Content Producer, Ken Chia


Over in the Mixed Doubles event, the Republic's Clarence Chew & Zeng Jian fell to India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra 3-1 (11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3) in the Round of 16, after a tight battle.

The TeamSG athletes defeated Australia’s Nicholas Lum/Jee Minhyung in the opening round of the Mixed Doubles event on Saturday (11 March) to set up a meeting with their Indian opponents, who received a bye in the first round. Clarence and Zeng Jian are presently ranked 94th in the world, and are the reigning Silver and Bronze medalists at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Commonwealth Games respectively.

CHEW Zhe Yu Clarence ZENG Jian_Singapore Smash 2023_Day 3_067TeamSG's Clarence Chew and Zeng Jian at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : WTT


This is the second time the Singaporean pair were playing against their Indian opponents, with the first being at the WTT Contender Doha 2022. There, it was Sathiyan and Manika who took the victory 3-2. Meanwhile at the OCBC Arena, the rhythm of the world number 9th ranked duo caused the local paddlers some trouble in the first 2 games. Manika aimed to slow down the game using her long-pimples rubber on the backhand, while Sathiyan focused on quickening the pace of the game with his fast returns. With the Singaporeans unable to find any solutions, the Indians won the first 2 games with a score margin of 11-7 and 12-10 respectively. Down 2-0, Clarence and Zeng Jian continued to fight as the local crowd cheered them on. The TeamSG athletes focused on higher-quality returns and the angle of their placements. This led to a series of errors on their opponent’s end, allowing the Singaporean pair to lead 7-4, before claiming the third game, 11-9!

The local duo would have hoped to continue their good form in the 4th game, but their higher-ranked opponents were simply too well-prepared. Scores were tied at 2 apiece, but mistakes on the Singaporeans’ end quickly allowed Sathiyan and Manika to claim 6 consecutive points, before dominating the fourth game 11-3 and taking the overall win. 

Sathiyan GNANASEKARAN Manika BATRA_Singapore Smash 2023_Day 3_063India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Manika Batra at Singapore Smash 2023. Photo Credit : WTT


After 3 days of competition in the main draw, TeamSG's hopes in the US$2 million event now rest upon the shoulders of Koen Pang and Izaac. 2019 SEA Games gold medallist Koen will take on  Germany’s Qiu Dang at 7pm on 14 March in the Round of 32 of the Men’s Singles event! And 16 year old Izaac will next meet world number 3 Wang Chuqin for a place in the quarter-finals. On the Men’s doubles end, Koen and Izaac will team up to face Chinese superstars Fan Zhendong and Chuqin in the Round of 16.


Results summary of TeamSG players on 13 March:

Men’s Singles:

Izaac Quek (SGP) vs Mattias Falck (SWE) - 3:2 (6-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10)

Men’s Doubles:

Koen Pang/Izaac Quek (SGP) vs Clarence Chew/Ethan Poh (SGP) - 3:1 (11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5)

Mixed Doubles:

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran/Manika Batra (IND) vs Clarence Chew/Zeng Jian (SGP) - 3:1 (11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3)

Women’s Doubles:

Lily Zhang/Amy Wang (USA) vs Ser Lin Qian/Zhou Jingyi (SGP) - 3:1 (12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5)

Lee Ho Ching/Chen Szu-Yu (HKG/TPE) vs Goi Rui Xuan/Wong Xin Ru (SGP) - 3:1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7)

Shan Xiaona/Nagasaki Miyu (GER/JPN) vs Loy Ming Ying/Chloe Lai (SGP) - 3:0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-6)

Catch Koen Pang as he takes on Germany’s Qiu Dang at 7pm on 14 March, in the Round of 32 of the Men’s Singles event!


Event details

Singapore Smash 2023 at the OCBC Arena, features 64 player men’s and women’s singles and 24-pair doubles and mixed competitions. A singles qualifying competition featuring a further 64 men and 64 women was held from 7-9 March. And the overall player line-up for the 7-19 March extravaganza is listed here.

Tickets for the the Main draw are available here.


Pearlyn Koh played Table Tennis competitively for 9 years. She represented Team Singapore at several major tournaments, including the 2018 Asian Games and World Table Tennis Championships. In 2019, Pearlyn was also the sole Southeast Asian player to enter the Top 16 at the Asian Junior & Cadet Table Tennis Championships. During her free time, Pearlyn enjoys reading and catching up with her friends. Having retired from the national team in Feb 2023, she's now a Business Ad undergrad at NUS.