Hong Kong, China turns its attention to bronze
Fourth seed Hong Kong, China has missed out on the opportunity to compete for the Women’s Team gold medal in Tokyo, falling short to number two seed Japan in the last four. Opening the match with Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano’s 3-0 victory over Soo Wai Yam Minnie and Lee Ho Ching, Japan doubled its advantage through Mima Ito, who accounted for Doo Hoi Kem 3-1. Up against the ropes, Hong Kong, China turned to Lee in the third fixture, but hopes of a comeback subsided as Hirano delivered a crushing 3-0 blow to see Japan progress.
Germany quest for elusive gold remains intact
Germany remains on course for their elusive gold medal in the Men’s Team event after Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Patrick Franziska beat Chinese Taipei 3-2 in their quarter-final encounter to set up a semi-final date with Japan. The Germans have won the Men’s Team silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and the bronze medal twice in London and Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Boll and Franziska took the early initiative for Germany with an opening 3-1 win over Chuang Chih-Yuan and Chen Chien-An. Lin Yun-Ju took down Ovtcharov 3-2 in a five-game thriller before Boll handed the advantage back to Germany in the third game with a 3-0 win over Chen. Lin ensured the match went in a deciding the decisive fifth match when he beat Franziska 3-0. Ovtcharov would prove too strong for Chuang as he beat him 3-0 in 31 minutes to seal Germany’s passage into the semi-final.
“It’s always important to have an early lead, as you gain a little more confidence, but there was still a long way to play after the doubles win. We expected it to be close and we are happy to have Dima in the end, who has the strongest nerves in the world! We are happy with the win, it was against a tough opponent, and we are now focusing on the next match,” said Timo Boll
China breaks Singapore’s resistance
China proved too strong for Singapore at the Women’s Team event as the trio of Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha outclass the Singaporeans 3-0 to reach the semi-final where they will take on Germany next. Chen and Wang dispatched Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye 3-0 in the first match in 23 minutes before Sun extended China’s advantage to 2-0 with a win over Feng Tianwei. Despite taking a game off Wang, Lin also proved no match for Wang as she went down 3-1 in the third and final match for Singapore to make their exit.
“We have played Singapore on several occasions, so we are quite familiar with them already. We are in good form, and we will try our best like we always do in the semi-final and go for the gold medal again. Our partnership and strategy have been very good so far, and we hope it will continue,” said Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu
Japan beats Sweden, advances to semi-final
The host nation took over two hours to overcome Sweden as they won their quarter-final clash 3-1 to progress into the last four at the Men’s Team event. Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Niwa secured the early point for the third-seeded Japanese by beating Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kallberg 3-1 before Mattias Falck levelled the score for Sweden with a 3-1 win over Jun Mizutani. After falling to Darko Jorgic in the fourth round of the Men’s Singles last week, Harimoto had a point to prove and he showed it by defeating Kaellberg 3-1. Niwa returned to action, closing out the fourth and final singles match with his 3-0 over Falck.
“We were prepared for everything and analysed every possible match we could face, but they made a change with Harimoto playing doubles. The doubles is very important in this system, they made a clever decision, and they won it. We knew before the match that it would be hard against Japan as they have a strong team, but we are disappointed as we wanted more than this, and now we’ll take a few weeks to rest ahead of the new season,” said Mattias Falck
Germany outplays the Republic of Korea
Germany punched their ticket to the semi-final of the Women’s Team event after beating the Republic of Korea 3-2 in an enthralling five-game thriller. Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the reigning European champions, fell 3-2 to Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee in the opening doubles match. But Han Ying dispatched Choi Hyojoo 3-0 in 25 minutes to restore hope for Germany. The momentum swung back to the Republic of Korea after Jeon beat Petrissa Solja 3-0 in the third match before Han took down 17-year-old Shin 3-1 to set up a nail-biting finish in the fifth match. Shan proved too strong for Choi as she won in straight games 3-0 to eliminate the Republic of Korea.
“I’m so proud of my teammates and we are now in the semi-finals. We believe in each other even though one of us may not be playing that well. But we still keep going. We will try our best and hopefully spring a surprise against China now,” said Solja.
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Results: ITTF.com and Worldtabletennis.com
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games media notes are available here.