China, S. Korea to meet in men's table tennis team semis at Tokyo Olympics

(Xinhua) 09:16, August 03, 2021

China beat France 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the men's table tennis team at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday to advance to the semifinals. The photo shows world NO. 1 Fan Zhendong serves the ball in the game. (Xinhua/Duxiaoyi)

Chinese table tennis men's team will fight South Korea in the semifinal after thrashing France 3-0.

TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Defending champions China booked a table tennis men's team semifinal encounter with South Korea at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after beating France 3-0 on Monday, but world No. 1 Fan Zhendong was stretched to a full-set win against Simon Gauzy.

Starting 6-2 Fan, who lost to fellow Chinese Ma Long in the men's singles final, lost his first set against the Frenchman 12-10.

Pulling back one set on 12-10, Fan was kept under pressure thereafter, barely being able to play his own strong forehand while feeling uncomfortable at his rival's backhand.

Trailing 6-0 and 10-2 in the third, the 24-year-old denied six set points in a row before returning a crucial backhand into the net to lose it 11-8.

The game came to its turning point in the next set when Fan managed fewer errors in backhand and more effective forehand attacks to tie the game on 2-2 with a 11-5 fourth set win.

He soon took control of the game with a flying start despite a late comeback from Gauzy having narrowed down his lead from five points to 9-7.

Fan then claimed two points in a row to nail down the decision on 11-7 and came out the eventual winner on 3-2.

Newly-crowned singles champion Ma Long partnered with Xu Xin to win the first point for China with a 3-0 victory over Alexandre Cassin/Emmanuel Lebesson, and Xu outplayed Lebesson again in the third game, also on 3-0.

Xu Xin (L), Ma Long (C) and the coach Qin Zhijian cheered for Fan Zhendong in the game against France. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

The Chinese trio will next play South Korea in the semifinals after the latter secured a last four slot with a 3-0 victory of strong rivalry against Brazil.

World No. 12 Jang Woo-jin led the squad and beat Brazil's top-rated Hugo Calderano in a surprising easy style 3-0, and Jeoung Young-sik scored twice including a 3-2 triumph over Gustavo Tsuboi.

The lower half of men's team will play two quarterfinals on Tuesday, with Japan facing Sweden while Chinese Taipei play Germany.

In women's play, Japan will face China's Hong Kong in the semis after the hosts trounced Chinese Taipei 3-0 and the Hong Kong squad ousted Romania 3-1.

The Chinese women's team will vie for a semifinal berth against Singapore on Tuesday afternoon with their opponents being decided between South Korea and Germany.

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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