Men’s first round team table tennis action concluded Saturday afternoon at the Riocentro with a quartet of matches.
Hong Kong got the proceedings underway with a 3-0 demolition of Australia that scarcely took an hour. Hong Kong didn’t drop a set, and will now face Japan, who survived Poland in a match that took three-and-a-half hours.
The Japanese won both the first two singles matches at 3-1, but struggled in a competitive doubles match. The Polish would eventually take the doubles point at 3-2, setting up a nervy fourth game. But Koki Niwa was able to outlast Jakun Dyjas 3-1 to put Japan into the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Austria were 3-1 victors over Portugal, and Germany defeated Chinese Taipei by the same scoreline. They are slated to meet in the quarterfinals Sunday afternoon.
A wall-to-wall day of table tennis concludes tonight with the final two women’s team quarterfinals. You can catch both matches streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.
North Korea poses a tricky challenge in the world of table tennis. Armed with a world class training facility, their players are tough enough opponents. But North Korean players rarely play in tournaments outside of their home nation, making them problematic to scout and adding to the difficulty in beating them.
Well, not for China.
Team China continued their single-minded march to defend Olympic gold with a 3-0 dismantling of North Korea Saturday morning. The Chinese won each line in straight sets and still haven’t dropped a set in the team competition these Games.
China will now face Singapore in the first semifinal Sunday evening, who were 3-2 winners over South Korea in the morning’s most hotly contested bout.
Singapore jumped to an early lead when Feng Tianwei swept Seo Hyo-won. But South Korea would rally back to take a 2-1 lead after the doubles point.
But Singapore’s singles players would win the day. First it was Zhou Yihan’s turn to shutout Seo, before Feng took the rubber match 3-1.
The action continues with the men’s first round this afternoon, with all four matches streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.