Team Sweden swept the United States in straight sets to dump the Americans out of the men’s team tournament just a few hours after the American women were ousted.
The Swedes, led by world No. 27 Kristian Karlsson, jumped all over the Americans early and often. Team USA only pushed one game to extra points, and that came in the first set.
Sweden now advances to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face South Korea, who dropped just one set against the hosts Brazil in their 3-0 shutout.
Reigning gold medalists China swept Nigeria by a combined score of 9-1 as they began their march toward a third straight team gold.
Elsewhere, Great Britain and France went the distance in a match that took almost three hours. Every game went to five sets in what was without a doubt the closest contest of the Olympics to date. France appeared to have one foot in the quarterfinals when their Tristan Flore took a two sets to none lead on Team GB’s Liam Pitchford. But Pitchford battled back to win the match at 3-2, setting up a decisive game 5. Pitchford passed the baton to compatriot Samuel Walker, who, staring in the face of a match point, won three straight to cap off an epic comeback and put the Brits in the quarterfinals.
Team table tennis gets back underway bright and early tomorrow with the women’s quarterfinals starting at 9:00 AM ET. You can stream all the action live on NBCOlympics.com.
Team USA fought valiantly but was ultimately brushed aside by third-seeded Germany as the women’s team first round concluded at the Riocentro Friday afternoon. Han Ying and San Xiaona won their opening singles matches at love before a spirited doubles match saw the Americans throw away a chance to get on the board.
Jenny Wu and Jiaqi Zheng were up two sets to one and 10-8 in the doubles match before dropping the next four points to even the game. The Germans didn’t need to be asked twice, taking the rubber match 11-7 and eliminating the Americans from the tournament.
The second-seeded Japanese team also scored a clean sweep, dropping just a lone set to the Polish in a romp. Team Japan is looking to defend their silver medal from London. They’ll face Austria in the quarterfinals after they beat the Netherlands 3-1.
In the day’s final match, Hong Kong recovered from an early singles loss to win nine straight sets and take their match against Chinese Taipei.
The men’s team tournament kicks off this evening at 6:30 PM ET, with all matches streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.
Entering the Rio Games, the question wasn’t whether the Chinese women would defend their team gold – that much was assumed – but just how dominant they would be on their quest to repeat.
With one match in the books, we have an emphatic answer.
Team China didn’t drop a set in their 3-0 victory over hosts Brazil Friday morning at the Riocentro. The defending gold medalists will now face the North Korean delegation Saturday in the quarterfinals. The North Koreans shutout Team Australia in their round of sixteen match.
The Chinese teamsheet reads like an all-star team: Rio’s singles champion Ding Ning is joined by silver medalist and London champion Li Xiaoxia, with world No. 1 Liu Shiwen thrown in for good measure.
Elsewhere there was also a clean sweep for the Singaporean contingent as they dismantled Team Egypt. In the lone competitive match of the day, South Korea outlasted Romania three games to two.
The team table tennis action continues from the Riocentro all day Friday, with the second session of women’s team matches set to begin at 2:00 PM ET. As always, you can catch all the action streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.