Japan loses table tennis semifinal in cruelest way possible

After his team lost to Germany in Wednesday's bronze medal match for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic men's team table tennis, South Korean Jeoung Young-sik found himself on the wrong end of history.

To follow up Ma in the second game, Xu Xin, the sole penholder on the Chinese squad, stumbled against Japan's top paddler Jun Mizutani, conceding the first set 12-10 and the second 11-9.

China's Ma Long competes during the men's table tennis team semifinal against South Korea at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 15, 2016.

Mizutani told Reuters that out of 50 games he had previously played against Xu, he had not won a single one.

Once, twice, three times Mizutani responded, however, taking the game to deuce and then converting a match point of his own for a thrilling 10-12, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 10-12 victory.

In a see-saw match that finished well past midnight in front of a typically hostile home crowd, China ended the day on a high, edging reigning champions Brazil 15-13 in a tight final set, and now face the Netherlands in the semifinals.

China has already ceded its titles in mixed doubles and women's doubles, and the remaining three events will be far from easy.

Japan's men's table tennis team, ranked fourth in the world, faced off against top-ranked China in the final on Wednesday at the Rio Games.

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But Japan, who celebrated their first ever medal in the men's team event, did not settle for silver without a fight.

It was left to Ma to finish the job, something he accomplished easily in a 11-1, 11-4, 11-4 demolition job on Yoshimura.

The men's gold and bronze medal matches will be exciting to watch, so don't miss a minute of them.

In a rematch of the 2012 Olympic final, China defeated South Korea 3-0, winning the first two singles matches and then the doubles match to complete the shutout.

The Japanese doubles duo of Mima Ito and Fukuhara dispatched the pairing of Zhou and Yu before Ito clinched the bronze medal with a convincing 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 win over Feng. "I'm the reason we lost today", she said.

Germany too had a strong Games, securing silver in the women's team event and bronze in the men's.

"I thought I had a chance to win in the fifth game when I was leading. but I didn't make the best of the opportunity".

But Japan was quick to warn China about getting revenge in four years, announcing that the possibility of defeating the Chinese players at the Tokyo Olympics "will not be just a dream".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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