Editor-in-chief, with Reuters, TOKYO
Taiwan’s men’s table tennis team beat Croatia 3-0 yesterday to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
Olympic veterans Chuang Chih-yuan and Chen Chien-an led the team to a strong start in the doubles match, beating Croats Frane Tomislav Kojic and Andrej Gacina 3-2.
Lin Yun-ju, Olympic mixed doubles bronze medalist from Taiwan, relayed the momentum from a strong start in a 3-0 win over Tomislav Pucar, with Chuang tying the same score in his lead game head-to-head against Gacina.
Elsewhere, the Serbian men’s team were knocked out by Brazilian paddlers Vitor Ishiy, Gustavo Tsuboi and Hugo Calderano in a heated 3-2 loss.
On the women’s side, the Chinese women’s table tennis trio of Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu beat Austrians Liu Jia, Liu Yuan and Sofia Polcanova 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Women’s singles silver medalist Sun teamed up with Wang to crush Liu Jia and Liu Yuan in the doubles match as the Austrians failed to win a single set.
“I was very excited. It was touching. Overall I think we were pretty good today, ”said Wang.
World No.1 and new Olympic singles champion Chen then faced Austrian paddler Polcanova in a 3-0 victory, followed by another individual match, where Wang knocked out her opponent, Liu Yuan, by the same score. .
The Chinese team initially included the 2016 Olympics tag team champion Liu Shiwen, one of the duos who lost to Japan in the mixed doubles final earlier this week.
However, she retired yesterday and was replaced by world No.4 Wang, who is competing in her first Olympics as a reserve player.
“Liu Shiwen was injured after the mixed doubles,” Chinese coach Li Sun said, while the International Table Tennis Federation said it was a recurring elbow injury.
China have been undefeated in the team events since its introduction in 2008.
Singles champion Chen said she focused on the sport’s final event immediately after the singles ended.
“There were ups and downs in the atmosphere, with a gold in singles and a loss in mixed doubles. I think another gold medal for the team event is important. It would be the greatest honor, really important, ”Li said.
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