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China's Zhang, Wang to fight for women's singles gold in Olympic table tennis
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15:05, August 22, 2008

China's table tennis veteran Wang Nan beat her higher-ranked teammate Guo Yue 4-2 in the Olympic women's singles competition in Beijing on Friday, setting up an all-Chinese final with defending gold medalist Zhang Yining.


Wang Nan of China reacts while competing with Guo Yue of China during the women's singles semifinal at Beijing Olympic Games table tennis event in Beijing, China, Aug. 22, 2008. Wang Nan won the match 4-2. (Xinhua/Xu Jiajun)

Wang, known as the "Big Sister" in the national team, fought off world champion Guo 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3 and 11-6 in the semifinal, though the 30-year-old had never beaten Guo in the last two years except in the 2007 Japan Open.

Wang said earlier this year that an Olympic appearance at home and even a gold medal would be the perfect way to wrap up her career. She is the sport's most decorated player, with more than 20 world titles.

After winning her fourth Olympic gold five days ago in the team event, the Grand Slam veteran showed no signs of slowing down in her drive for another medal in the singles. Her fans cheered her on and her husband watched her play from the stands.

Wang told the reporters:"I was in control of the whole match and Guo was not calm enough when the match was tied at 2-2."

"I experienced ups and downs in my career, but I rose to every challenge and held out till today. I'm very satisfied about reaching the final," she said.

Guo said that "I was prepared for possible difficulties and played well in the first four games. But I lost for the lack of experience."


Zhang Yining of China celebrates after defeating Li Jia Wei of Singapore during the women's singles semifinal at Beijing Olympic Games table tennis event in Beijing, China, Aug. 22, 2008. Zhang Yining won the match 4-1. (Xinhua/Xu Jiajun)

Earlier in the day, world number one Zhang Yining also stormed into the final, beating former schoolmate Li Jia Wei of Singapore 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 and 11-5.

"I think Li fought really hard today. She has participated in three Olympic Games, so she is actually more experienced than me in international competitions," Zhang said.

"But I knew I would win once I got over the first game," she said. "The final won't be easy because teammates know each other very well."

Li believed she played very well, adding:"It's an achievement for me to finish in the top four while the other three are all Chinese players."

Both Zhang and Li were born in Beijing in 1981. They attended the same school in the Chinese capital between 1986-96.

Li went to Singapore in 1996 under the foreign recruitment scheme of the Singapore Table Tennis Association, and gained Singaporean citizenship in 1999.

Li will meet Guo in the bronze medal contest later on Friday.

Source:Xinhua

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