The Team’s event gets underway on Sunday, with Slovenia and the Republic of Korea set for the opening clash as table tennis action resumes after a day’s break.
Hong Kong, China, takes on Brazil in the Women’s Team round of 16 before Romania faces Egypt. Romania’s Bernadette Szocs is keen to erase the heartbreak of exiting the third round of the Women’s Singles in her match against Liu Juan (USA), together with the loss for her and her partner Ovidiu Ionescu against Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen (CHN) at the quarter-final stage in the Mixed Doubles.
Top seed China, represented by Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Liu Shiwen, will begin their Women’s Team campaign against Austria. China has swept both the Men’s and Women’s Team’s gold medals since the event made its introduction at the 2008 Beijing Games. However, their dominance will be tested by the rising might of the National Olympic Committees ready to shift the balance of power.
World number one Chen, who has made her Olympic Games debut in Tokyo, is ready to put up a stiff resistance, especially after her gold medal-winning performance in the Women’s Singles.
“I want to bring home the gold medal for China in the Team’s event again. I’ll continue to take each game as it comes, but right now, I know I’m in good form,” said Chen.
In the Men’s category, China’s Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin will take on Egypt, led by Omar Assar. Assar caused one of the biggest upsets in the Men’s Singles by defeating Sweden’s Mattias Falck in the third round before bowing out to Ma in the quarter-final.
Mima Ito, who created history and delivered the first table tennis gold medal for Japan in the Mixed Doubles, is back in action with Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano as they face Hungary in their opening encounter at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Although the 20-year-old also became the first player from Japan to land a Women’s Singles medal at the Olympic Games, she was visibly disappointed after missing out on a place in the final and is looking for better fortunes in the Team’s event.
“I’m looking forward to the Team’s event now. I hope to use my frustration, disappointment as a form of motivation and do well in then,” said Ito.
Third seed Germany will meet Australia with their top-ranked player, Petrissa Solja, determined to redeem herself after crashing out in the Mixed Doubles quarter-final to Japan. That defeat was followed by a shock 4-3 loss to Canada’s Zhang Mo in the Women’s Singles third round.
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Results: ITTF.com and Worldtabletennis.com
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games media notes are available here: