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Japan keeps bronze medal hope alive
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14:32, August 16, 2008

Japan kept its hope alive for a bronze in the Olympic women's team table tennis tournament here Saturday, after downing higher-ranked Hong Kong of China 3-2.

In the bronze final, Japan will play South Korea, whose medal pursuit also showed no signs of slowing with a 3-0 win over the United States in the second round of the bronze playoff.

Popular star Ai Fukuhara, ranked 12th in the world, was the biggest contributor to Japan's success as she rallied two games down twice to beat tenacious opponents in singles and doubles matches.

Tie Yana of Hong Kong got off to a flying start, beating Haruna Fukuoka 11-2, 12-10, 12-10, while Lin Ling blew a 2-0 lead, losing to Fukuhara 9-11, 12-14, 11-5,11-8, 11-8.

Despite another 2-0 lead in the doubles, Lin and Lau Sui Fei suffered defeat against a fired-up Japanese pair of Fukuhara and Sayaka Hirano 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8.

The match was tied at 2-2 after Lau's 11-8, 11-2, 7-11, 12-10 win over Fukuoka, but Hirano earned a 12-10, 11-6, 11-8 victory against higher-ranked Tie, who lost her nerve at the last minute.

Source:Xinhua

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1 China 25 9 5 39
2 USA 14 12 18 44
3 Germany 8 2 4 14
4 South Korea 6 8 3 17
5 Italy 6 4 3 13
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