Wed, 29 Sep 2021

TOKYO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China is assured of two gold and two silver medals in the Tokyo 2020 table tennis competitions, as all four semifinals of both men's and women's singles were won by Chinese paddlers here on Thursday.

Top seed Fan Zhendong overcame a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei's teenage sensation Lin Yun-ju in the men's semis.

The world No.1 fought back from one set down to lead 2-1 and 3-2, before being held again after six sets, and finally seeing out the win 6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 13-15, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8.

Leading 9-5 in the sixth, the 24-year-old, who was a P-card holder five years ago in Rio 2016, gave out cheap points and was forced into a decider.

Down 3-1 at the beginning of the final set, Fan tied it 4-4 and pushed forward step by step before securing a 11-8 victory.

"Fortunately, I was able to win the match eventually, despite a full-set procedure," Fan said afterwards. "Lin played a very impressive game today, and my pressures were mounting."

"I made some errors but I am satisfied with what I did throughout the game, especially for the boldness in the last and decisive set," he added.

Fan gave a high praise to his 19-year-old opponent, who finished fourth at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

"Lin is young but has made rapid progress in recent years. On this grand stage, having performed so well, he is indeed a respectable opponent," Fan said.

Said Lin, "I had some chances but Ma played better when it came to key points. He was more decisive in carrying out his own strategy."

Later, in the other men's singles semifinal, China captain and reigning Olympic and world champion Ma Long held off Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov to win 13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9.

In the women's draw, Olympic debutant Sun Yingsha won a competition between two 20-year-olds, trouncing Japan's Mima Ito 4-0 to reach the final.

Her compatriot Chen Meng, the 27-year-old current world No.1 who is playing in her first Olympics, stormed into the final after beating Singapore's Yu Mengyu, also in four straight sets.

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