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Zhang leads China sweep in women's table tennis

Zhang leads China sweep in women's table tennis

Zhang Yining of China defeated teammate Wang Nan on Friday to win the gold medal in women's singles table tennis at the Olympics, completing a medals sweep for the host team.
China clinched all three medals in the event earlier in the evening after Guo Yue beat Li Jia Wei of Singapore to win the bronze.
China has always been dominant in its national sport of table tennis. But it has swept all three medals only once before, in the women's singles event at the 1988 Seoul Games.
The gold medal match was a showdown between two of the best athletes in table tennis _ Zhang was playing for her fourth Olympic gold medal and Wang was competing for her fifth.
The score was frequently tied and Wang controlled the game at first, forcing world No. 1 Zhang to lunge and chase for the ball. But Zhang stayed cool and gradually took over her fifth-ranked opponent, winning 8-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3.
There were no coaches on the benches, just the two players wearing the same uniform in different colors _ Zhang in blue and Wang in red _ playing in the middle of the gymnasium. Though Zhang set her face in an expressionless mask, Wang seemed relaxed, wearing a half-smile and sticking out her tongue after losing points.
A medals sweep is also possible in the men's singles event, after the Chinese rolled over their competition Friday in the quarterfinals to set up another semifinal round with only one foreign athlete.
"It's the Great Wall," said the lone non-Chinese to advance, Jorgen Persson of Sweden.
"But look at the history of the Olympics. In the five gold medals (in the men's singles event), two are Chinese, two are Korean and one is Sweden. So they are strong, but it's breakable."
Persson will play world No. 1 Wang Hao, who the Swede admitted will be hard to handle. World fourth-ranked Wang Liqin will play No. 2 Ma Lin, who advanced after defeating Oh Sang-eun of South Korea, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10.
Oh has been the only player so far in the Olympic competition to cause any problems for the Chinese. The Korean took Ma to five games during the team event, but lost 3-2.
"I prepared for a lot of difficulties because his level of play is close to mine," Ma said. "He had been playing very well, from singles and teams he's only lost two games, both to me."


Updated : 2020-12-02 21:53 GMT+08:00