04 Aug 2021

China imposed their authority on proceedings at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Wednesday 4th August, they reserved places in both the men’s team and women’s team finals in commanding style. Likewise, Germany advanced to the men’s team gold medal contest but in a very contrasting manner; the no.2 seeds, they needed the full five matches to overcome Japan, the no.3 seeds.

by Ian Marshall

Backbone of the German success was the now 40 year old Timo Boll.

In the opening match of the fixture, he partnered Patrick Franziska to doubles success against Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa (11-2, 11-3, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7), before in the third contest overcoming Jun Mizutani (7-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7).

It was the third time when Timo Boll and Jun Mizutani had met at the semi-final stage of an Olympic Games men’s team event. In Beijing (2008) Timo Boll won, in Rio de Janeiro (2016), the verdict had gone in favour of Jun Mizutani.

The success gained by Timo Boll was vital, in the previous match Tomokazu Harimoto had beaten Dimitrij Ovtcharov (7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-9).


Good form from Tomokazu Harimoto, in the fourth match of the engagement it was his fighting spirit which witnessed success. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Patrick Franziska in a quite titanic struggle, notably 7-9 down in the fifth (5-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).

Thus, for Dimitrij Ovtcharov it was déjà vu. The previous day against Chinese Taipei, with matters in the overall fixture level, Dimitrij Ovtcharov had beaten Chuang Chih-Yuan, he followed suit with a further second repeat act.

He faced Koki Niwa, the player he had beaten in the fourth round of the men’s singles; he repeated the dose (11-9, 11-7, 11-8) to reserve Germany’s place in the final.

Step ahead

Tense moments but not quite the same earlier in the day; China, the top seeds in both disciplines, simply a step ahead.

In the men’s event a 3-0 margin of victory was the score line against Korea Republic, the no.4 seeds.

China retained the doubles partnership of earlier rounds, Ma Long and Xu Xin joined forces to beat Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu in straight games (11-5, 11-5, 11-8). Fan Zhendong followed suit, he overcame Jan Woojin to double the advantage (11-7, 11-9, 16-14).

Straight games wins in the opening matches, in the third life was more testing for Ma Long, he had to stave off a spirited recovery by Lee Sangsu, eventually winning in five games (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 13-15, 11-6).

Team selection

Meanwhile, at the start of the day, at the quarter-final stage of the women’s team competition, China had overcome, Germany, the no.3 seeds.

Notably, China selected the team in order that Chen Meng, women’s singles gold medallist earlier in the tournament, played two matches.

She partnered Wang Manyu to doubles success in the opening contest against Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the reigning European champions (11-9, 11-2, 11-4). Later in the third match of the fixture, she beat Petrissa Solja to conclude matters (5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 13-11).

Sandwiched in between, Sun Yingsha overcame the defensive skills of Han Ying in the second match of the fixture (11-6, 11-4, 11-9).

Medal fixtures

The medal fixtures are now known.

Thursday 5th August
Women’s Team – bronze: Germany (3) versus Hong Kong China (4)
Women’s Team – gold: China (1) versus Japan (2)

Friday 6th August
Men’s Team – bronze: Japan (3) versus Korea Republic (4)
Men’s Team – gold: China (1) versus Germany (2)

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