SINGAPORE — Richard Gonzales defeated Tran Tuan Quynh of Vietnam, 11-3, 11-6, 15-13, to clinch a berth in the semifinals and be assured of a bronze medal in the men’s table tennis singles competition of the 28th Southeast Asian Games.
The 44-year-old Gonzales beat Quynh, the 2003 SEA Games gold medalist, in straight sets to raise his record to 3-0 in Group C of the preliminaries. He will take on the No. 1 seed in the bracket regardless of the result of his final preliminary match against a Malaysian.
The top players from each of the four groups will move to the semifinals.
But Gonzales admitted struggling to put away the Vietnamese in the third set.
“Medyo gumanda rin ‘yung palo nung kabila. Medyo nag-aadjust pa siya nung first two sets,” said Gonzales, a 20-year national team veteran.
Table Tennis Association of the Philippines president Ting Ledesma said he is still expecting medals in the team event where Gonzales is also entered.
Gonzales beat Thavisack Phathaphone of Laos, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4, on Monday before needing five sets to turn back Ficky Santoso of Indonesia, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, on Tuesday.