Defending Olympic champions China will face Japan in the men’s table tennis final on Wednesday, after beating South Korea in the semis.
While South Korea fought hard to match their opponents point for point in some sets during the Monday meeting, they eventually had to admit a 3-0 defeat to the Chinese team, made up of individual gold and silver medallists Ma Long and Zhang Jike as well as world number three Xu Xin.
After a tough first match between Zhang and South Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik, Ma quickly overcome Lee Sangsu in the second and it was wrapped up by Zhang and Xu in the third and doubles match against Jeoung and Joo Saehyuk.
Earlier in the day the Japanese men’s team avenged their women counterparts’ painful semi-finals loss by beating Germany to secure a spot in the final, and also guaranteed themselves the country’s first medal in the men’s team event in the process.
While Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov started strongly to take the first game over Maharu Yoshimura, they eventually faltered to lose 3-1 to Japan, who were anchored by the explosive spins of individual bronze medallist and world number six Jun Mizutani.
“Japan played really strong today, the best match they’ve ever played against us I would say, especially Mizutani … They were really unstoppable today,” said Timo Boll of Germany, which will now play South Korea for the bronze.
China’s Xu said they would not go easy on Japan. “We’re going to put our all into the match. Now that Japan has made it to the final they will definitely work hard against China and fight,” he said.
“Their win against the Germany has boosted their confidence, we will take factors like these into account when preparing for the match.”
The Japanese women’s team were edged out by Germany on Sunday with a return ball that grazed against the table edge, giving them the winning point by millimetres. They will play against Singapore for the bronze.