Tokyo, July 29 (CNA) 19-year-old table tennis player from Taiwan Lin Yun-ju (林 昀 儒) forced world number 1 Fan Zhendong (樊振東) of China to a seventh game on Thursday, before s ” falling 3-4 in the closing minutes of the men’s singles semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
With the loss, Lin failed to advance to the final, nullifying his chances of winning a gold medal at the Olympics, although he still has a chance to take bronze when he faces the German. Dimitrij Ovtcharov Friday.
In Thursday’s game, fifth-seeded Lin started with an 11-6 victory in the opener against Fan, the top-seeded men’s singles at the Olympics and world number 1 since April 2018.
Fan, however, rebounded to win the next two hotly contested games 11-9, 14-12, before the Taiwanese won Game 4 by two, 15-13.
The Chinese ace, however, won Game 5 and lost to Lin in Game 6 before winning the all-important Game 7, 11-8, to secure the victory and advance to the final.
After the biting game, the 24-year-old Fan said it was an extremely difficult game for him, and he congratulated his young competitor.
“He made significant progress in an extremely fast time,” Fan said.
Meanwhile, Lin, who is 1-4 in his five career clashes against Fan, said he has given his all against a formidable opponent.
“I did my best, focusing on the game, and didn’t give up, even when I was lagging behind,” Lin said.
Lin said he would do everything possible on Friday to clinch Taiwan’s first medal in the men’s singles table tennis competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Reaching the semi-finals, Lin tied Chuang Chih-yuan (莊智淵) for fourth place at the London 2012 Olympics, which was a Taiwanese player’s best performance in the men’s singles competition.
On Monday, Lin and Cheng I-ching (鄭怡靜) won Taiwan’s first Olympic table tennis medal in 21 years, taking bronze in a doubles match against a French pair.