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Roundup: China leads most of seeds through to Olympic table tennis team semis
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10:37, August 15, 2008

Daunting Chinese made the Olympic table tennis team semifinals in both the men's and women's events without losing a set, while seeds except the Japanese men all through as groups' top finishers in Beijing on Thursday.

Other semifinalists are Germany, South Korea and Japan in the men's team and Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea on women's part. The runners-up of group stage, namely the Austrians, Croatia, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong in men's team event, and Austria, the United States, Romania and Japan in the women's, will enter the bronze medal playoffs.

The Chinese Olympic trio of Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin continued their wining streak and made short work of supercharged Australia and former world champion Werner Schlager-led Austria in day two of the table tennis team events' group stage first round.

They thus topped the Group A with six points from three matches of the group stage first round after winning over Greece 3-0 on the previous day, while their women compatriots beat Croatia 3-0 on Wednesday and Austria and Dominica Republic with the same score on Thursday.

Next in the semifinals, China will meet South Korea while Germany face Japan in the men's semis, and the two women's semifinal clashes pit China and Hong Kong, and Singapore and South Korea as well.

The most eye-catching matchup on Thursday was played between the South Korean and the Chinese Taipei men's teams, as the former was forced a harsh comeback to earn the top position in their group.

South Korea, seeded the second, had whitewashed Sweden 3-0 Wednesday, but battle hard to edge out Chinese Taipei, boasting of 10th-ranked Chuan Chih-yuan and 23-ranked Chiang Peng-lung.

Defending champion Ryu Seung-min and Chuang were engaged in a seesaw confrontation with neither giving in until the last minute.

Known for his excellent forehand serve and fast backhand, Chuang rallied from one game down to blow a 2-1 lead 5-11, 11-8, 11-7.

But Ryu mounted gusty onslaught against a tenacious Chuang, wowing the crowd with their cross-court rallies. Chuang managed to hold his nerves before emerging with a 19-17 victory and took the prolonged match 3-1.

Trailing 0-1 on set, South Korea did not lose stream and came back strong to dominate the following sets 3-1, 3-2, 3-2, sealing the whole match 3-1.

"Ryu was so nervous in the opening tie that he even forgot his tactics," said South Korean coach Ryu Nam Kyu. He added that Ryu usually has steadfast mindset, especially in international tournament.

"But if one thinks too much about playing well, he will be more nervous," said the coach.

The 1988 Olympic champion added that the team hoped to set up a clash with Germany in the semifinals and face China in the final.

"I will pray before making the draw," he said with a smile.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 22 7 5 34
2 USA 10 9 14 33
5 Germany 7 2 3 12
3 South Korea 6 7 3 16
4 Italia 6 4 3 13
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