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German men edge Japan to march into table tennis final
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20:54, August 16, 2008

European powerhouse Germany stormed over Japan Saturday to advance into the final of men's table tennis team event of the Beijing Olympic Games.

The 210-minute clash turned to be a tit-for-tat confrontation with players in both sides fight to their maximum ability to lead the match.

Germany's rising star Dimitrij Ovtcharov edged 19-ranked Kan Yo in a seesaw full-set match. Being tied 2-all on set, Kan Yo failed to resist the ferocious onslaught of Ovtcharov and dropped the tie-breaker 10-12 before losing the confrontation 2-3.

Japan's teenage prodigy Jun Mizutani mounted gusty challenge against veteran Timor Boll in efforts to pull the score even, but let the Japanese down after losing 1-3.

Jun, pairing with Seiya Kishikawa, refused to lie down in face of 40-ranked Christian Suss and Ovtcharov in the third matchup and emerged with a 3-1 victory.

Former Chinese paddler Kan Yo pulled one back for Japan, also in a nail-biting five sets, before Boll returned to the table to fight off an overcharged Kishikawa 3-2 and clinch the match 3-2.

"It is a great pity that we lost the match. We've tried our best, but German team played even better. Compared with German players, we are not mature enough, which resulted in our loss," Mizutani said.

Mizutani, 19, has been under training in German club for five years and made rapid progress. "I played very bad today, I don't know why," a upset Mizutani added.

"It is a hard-fought match in which all paddlers played to their utmost and were exhausted. I am glad that we won," Boll said.

Boll thrown himself onto the ground and almost burst into tears after his last winning shot.

"It was amazing to play here. I've played 100 percent, and it was one of the best matches I've played in my life", said Ovtcharov, who is on his maiden Olympic trip.

The 20-year-old German sensation stunned the world by beating world No. 4 Wang Liqin and compatriot Boll at the ITTF ProTour in South Korea two months ago.

"To reach the final is the biggest thing we can do now. Since Chinese players are under pressure, we'll try out best to win despite the slim chance," he said.

Japan and South Korea crashed Hong Kong, China and Chinese Taipei Thursday to advance into team semifinals.

Japan will take on Austria Sunday to chase for the bronze medal .

The table tennis tournament, held in the 8,000-seat stadium in Peking University, is scheduled to last 11 days starting from Aug. 13. The men's team event final will be held Monday following the women's final on Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 27 12 6 45
2 USA 16 15 19 50
3 Germany 8 4 5 17
4 South Korea 6 9 3 18
5 Italy 6 5 4 15
6 Japan 6 4 4 14
7 Australia 5 7 10 22
8 Russia 4 4 8 20
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