China, Japan reach semis at World Table Tennis Championships

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-5-3 8:41:11


Xu Xin of China serves the ball against Stefan Fegerl of Austria during their men's teams quarterfinal match at the Zen Noh 2014 World Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan, May 2, 2014. Xu Xin won the match 3-0. Team China won 3-0. Photo:Xinhua


Defending champion China and host Japan reached the men's semifinals at the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships after beating Austria and Portugal respectively on Friday.

In their second meeting in three days, China beat Austria 3-0, an identical score-line as Wednesday's group clash. But the match was not as easy as the scoreline may suggest.

Ma Long beat Daniel Habesohn 11-9, 11-9 and 12-10 to earn the first point for China. In the second rubber, Robert Gardos almost took one point for Austria but he wasted a match point in the fourth game, only allowing Zhang Jike to survive 11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 14-12 and 11-5.

"After losing the third game, Liu Guoliang told me to play as if I had lost the match," said Zhang. "I did what he said. I can't say that I felt no pressure then, but it really helped."

Xu Xin's match against Stefan Fegerl went smoothly as Xu only took 20 minutes to beat Fegerl in three straight games to secure China a berth in the semifinals.

"As I have said many times before, the playoffs are much different from group matches," said Liu Guoliang, head coach of the Chinese team. "Same players, but totally different atmosphere and matches. The opponents gave us lots of pressure. Ma and Zhang both played cautious games. The 3-0 score just told nothing of the match."

Host Japan beat Portugal 3-0 in another quarterfinals. Niwa Koki defeated Marcos Freitas 3-0 while Mizutani Jun won over Tiago Apolonia by 3-0. Matsudaira Kenta secured Japan's victory after beating Joao Monteiro in four games.

China's semifinal opponent will be either Chinese Taipei or South Korea, whose clash will be played on Saturday. Japan will meet the winner between Singapore and Germany.

Posted in: Eye on the ball

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