Mon, 25 Oct 2021

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Chinese paddlers swept into men's and women's team events quaterfinals with ease at Tokyo 2020.

TOKYO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's all-time leading table tennis players stayed on course for a sweep of team titles at the Tokyo Olympics, advancing to the quarterfinals with ease.

The Chinese men's squad, who have claimed all three Olympic titles since the event debuted in Beijing 2008, beat Egypt 3-0 in the evening's session, while their female counterparts breezed past Austria in three straight games.

Xu Xin, who partnered with women's singles reigning champion Liu Shiwen in the mixed doubles event and lost to Japan's Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito in the final six days ago, scored twice for China.

The Shanghai native firstly paired with newly-crowned men's singles champion Ma Long to beat Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 in the doubles play, before he trounced Khalid Assar 11-9, 11-7, 11-2, in the third game.

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World No. 1 Fan Zhendong was the first-choice singles player for Sunday's match, and he gave no chance to Egypt's top paddler Omar Assar, winning 11-4, 11-8, 11-5.

"Our first round opponents are not so strong, which gave us plenty of space," commented China's captain Ma.

"We tried to tune up for the team event where each game plays best-of-five rather than the singles best-of-seven format. For that reason, we need to be more focused and slow start is total unsuitable," added the 32-year-old.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Chinese women's team also made short work of their first round opponents Austria 3-0, as Wang Manyu, China's P-card holder who stepped in to replace injured Liu Shiwen, won two games.

"I'm a little bit nervous, but more excited to make my Olympic debut," said Wang Manyu. "I have been prepared for this even before I was informed I would replace Liu, who's a great player and made every effort she could to come back to play."

"It's a pity for her to have to withdraw, and I will carry her flag and fight effortlessly for my team and my country," added the 22-year-old.

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Both her teammates Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha praised Wang's first match performance, but Li Sun, head coach of the Chinese women's team, said that his job is to keep his players grounded.

"It's not always a good thing to be excited at court," said the coach, who previously guided Wang Nan, Zhang Yining and Li Xiaoxia to a Grand Slam win.

The Chinese women will continue their title-defending campaign with a quarterfinal against either France or Singapore, whose round of 16 match is on Monday morning.

China's male paddlers will play French players in the quarterfinals after the latter beat China's Hong Kong 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

In other plays of team events, all leading seeds advanced to the next round, as Brazil set up a quarterfinal matchup against South Korea, and Chinese Taipei play Germany in the men's draw.

The Hong Kong women's team will face Romania, and Chinese Taipei play Japan, with Germany also through.

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