Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Table Tennis-Chinese women, men advance to team finals

By Eimi Yamamitsu

TOKYO (Reuters) -China kept alive its chances of maintaining an undefeated Olympic teams table tennis record when its women’s and men’s teams easily beat their respective opponents in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

In the men’s team, China’s Ma Long, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong seized the match against South Korean paddlers Jeoung Youngsik, Lee Sangsu and Jang Woojin with a strong 3-0 win.

While South Korean paddler Lee edged his opponent Ma, Olympic singles gold medallist, by scoring two sets in the latter half of the deciding match, he eventually lost steam in the final fifth set to lose 2-3.

“I was thinking too much during the fifth set,” Lee told reporters.

The Chinese team will face off against the winner of the semi-final match held later in the day between host country Japan and Germany.

Earlier, the Chinese women’s trio of Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu breezed into the final with a 3-0 win over Germany.

Chen and Wang started out the team event with a smash against Germany’s Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, winning 3-0 in the doubles match.

World number one Sun made quick work of German paddler Han Ying in a 3-0 singles match, followed by a 3-1 victory by singles gold medallist Chen over Solja.

Medal favourites China will face 2016 Rio bronze medallists Japan, who knocked out Hong Kong 3-0 in a dominating performance at the semi-final match.

“We’ve been preparing for the game tomorrow to have confidence in ourselves and confidence in our team mates,” Wang told reporters.

The trio added that they will prepare mentally for a close game against the Japanese team that include Mima Ito who defeated China in the mixed doubles event with Jun Mizutani.

“It’s been ten days since the mixed doubles. But our focus is on tomorrow, no longer on that match. The match tomorrow is a brand new game,” Chen said.

“We will focus on our strengths and weaknesses that we’ve noted from the past and work on them.”

China have won all Olympic table tennis team events both for women and men since it was introduced in 2008.

Germany meanwhile will play Hong Kong for the bronze medal.

(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Michael Perry)

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