Saturday, 17 November, 2018

TABLE TENNIS / Fukuhara forges personal struggles into team bronze

TABLE TENNIS / Fukuhara forges personal struggles into team bronze TABLE TENNIS / Fukuhara forges personal struggles into team bronze
Mike Hodges | 18 August, 2016, 01:22

Singles Olympic champions 28-year-old Li Xiaoxia and the 26-year-old Ding Ning will be playing for China.

Singles silver medalist Li Xiaoxia opened the match for China, beating Singapore's No. 1 and her club teammate in China's Super League Feng Tianwei 12-10, 11-8, 11-9. "But we have a lot of confidence in our abilities to win because we have such a strong team".

Defeats in sports dominated by China at previous Olympics have left the country in an unfamiliar third place on the medals table, with some predicting that Rio 2016 could witness the lowest haul in two decades.

China continued their remarkable dominance in table tennis this evening by ruthlessly sweeping aside Germany 3-0 in the women's team final to successfully defend their title with consummate ease. Japan, on the other hand, barely escaped Poland in the first round, before they converted 3-1 wins over Hong Kong and Germany.

Han, a defensive player, spent the vast majority of the match simply absorbing pressure from Fukuhara and keeping the ball in play with backspin chops shots, extending rallies until Fukuhara would make a mistake on an aggressive shot. It was a tight affair throughout, but the experience and guile of the elder statesman Boll won out over the youthful exuberance of Joo in game 1, as the German took the set 11-8.

"I've cried after winning in the past, but today was the first time I couldn't control myself", Ai Fukuhara said.

Winning the bronze was especially meaningful for Ishikawa because she lost her opening match in the singles competition when she was hampered by a leg injury.

Solja, ranked 15th in the world, showed resolve and consistency in earlier rounds but against the quality of 25-year-old Li she was overwhelmed. Instead of looking for the first available look and at at times settling in the first half, the US was clinical offensively in the final 20 minutes.

"Jike was once in passive situation against Jeoung but he made an all-out effort and won the game through experience and stern mind", he said. The Chinese, seeking their third straight gold medal in the competition, haven't yet lost a line on their march to the final. We didn't play any matches yesterday, so we were preparing the whole day, you don't know what exactly will happen on court, the only thing we could do is to be positive and enjoy the process.

The Chinese women swept aside Germany's Han Ying, Shan Xiaona, and Petrisse Solja 3-0 to add another gold to the table tennis superpower's wins last week in the men's and women's singles.

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