Germany relied on its dominant singles play and Japan overcame earliness shakiness as both advanced to the semifinals of the men’s team tournament. Both countries won their matches 3-1 to set up a meeting in the last four Monday evening.
Germany won their match by riding their outstanding singles players – led by world No. 5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov – to take down Austria as all three players recorded a singles victory. Germany won the first two singles lines without dropping a set before losing a tight doubles point. But in the fourth match Bastian Steger beat Stefan Fegerl at love to put his team in Monday’s semifinal.
Japan, on the other hand, had to overcome a sketchy start to punch their ticket. After running out to a 2-0 lead in the first line, Koki Niwa conspired to drop the next three sets as Hong Kong’s Tang Peng took the first game. World No. 7 Jun Mizutani almost duplicated the result when he threw away a 2-0 lead of his own to Wong Chun Ting. But he held on to tie the match at one.
Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura coasted to a victory in the doubles, leaving Yoshimura with a chance to put Japan in the semifinals. Yoshimura made no mistake, closing the door on Hong Kong and sending Japan to the last four.
The action reaches a climax this evening with the first women’s semifinal starting at 7:30 PM ET. You can catch that match and all matches streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.
Two teams booked their spots in the men’s semifinals Sunday morning as the table tennis action continued from the Riocentro.
China continued their march to the gold medal with a sweep of Team GB in the day’s first quarterfinal. Proceedings started brightly for the Brits when Liam Pitchford took the first set of his match against the man who took home the single’s gold in Rio, Ma Long. But it was downhill from there as the Chinese stamped their mark on the game, winning each line at 3-1 to take the match in a sweep.
They’ll take on South Korea in the first men’s semifinal Monday afternoon after the Koreans were 3-1 winners over Sweden. South Korea’s team, which sports three players in the top twenty in the world, had little trouble dispatching the Swedes. After splitting the opening pair of singles lines, the Koreans won the doubles point in a shutout. Jung Young-Sik then put an end to the whole affair with a 3-1 victory over Kristian Karlsson to take the Koreans to the last four.
The men’s quarterfinals continue starting at 2:00 PM ET as Japan take on Hong Kong and Germany squares up against Austria. You can watch it all streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.