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Chinese men's table tennis overcomes singles loss to win team event

  • Author:Crystal Wang
  • Release on:2016-08-18
China added a men's team gold medal here on Wednesday to sweep titles of the Olympic table tennis competitions for the third straight time.

The all-time leading Chinese men's team, twice champions at as many previous Olympic Games after the team events took the place of doubles since Beijing 2008, claimed a 3-1 victory in the final over Japan, who made history by reaching an Olympic final of men's table tennis.

It was the 28th gold medal won by China since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

World No. 1 Ma Long, who came out the fifth Grand Slam man after being crowned at singles in Rio, scored two points in Wednesday evening's final to lift the whole team up.

The 28-year-old started strong as the first positioned singles player, overcoming a mid-way blast and some netballs from the 22nd-ranked Koki Niwa, just 21 years old, to win in straight sets, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6.

To follow up Ma in the second game, Xu Xin, the sole penholder in this Chinese squad, stumbled against Japan's top male paddler Jun Mizutani, conceding the first set 12-10 and the second 11-9 though having pulled back five scores in a row from trailing 5-1.

The 26-year-old world No. 3 reopened the game in style, leading 6-0 into the third set before letting go just three points of 11-point format.

Tying it 2-2 with a 11-7 fourth set, Xu led 10-8 in the fifth and decider but Mizutani, ranked sixth in the world, served to tie 10-10 before taking it 12-10 to force at least four games.

The following doubles went also intense as Xu, pairing up with China's another active Grand Slam winner Zhang Jike, easily surrendered the first set 11-4 before launching a hard-working comeback 11-6, 11-9, 11-5.

Ma then came up on court again to play Japan's 21st-ranked Maharu Yoshimura and just proved his flying form, rounding up the match with a 11-1, 11-4, 11-4 win.

Though losing the final, Japan won their first silver medal in men's event to better Mizutani's fresh record of taking a bronze in the men's singles six days ago

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