Chinese men’s team reaches semis at TT Worlds

Kuala Lumpur, March 4 (IANS) Defending champion Chinese men’s team took a comfortable three-nil win over eighth seed Sweden, entering the semi-finals of the 2016 World Table Tennis Championships here on Friday.

Ma Long, the current world No.1, took the first point for China by beating Karlsson Mattias 11-6, 11-9 and 11-7, reports Xinhua.

Fan Zhendong ousted Karlsson Kristian 12-10, 13-11 and 11-5 in the second rubber, before Xu Xin easily overcame Persson Jon 11-6, 11-9 and 11-7 to secure China a semifinal berth.

“This is the first knockout game played by Fan Zhendong. He did pretty well today, even he was a bit nervous at the beginning. The result is just what I expected,” said Liu Guoliang, the head coach of the Chinese team.

China’s semi-finals opponents will be South Korea, who beat Portugal 3-1 to reserve a place on the medal podium.

Backbone of South Korea’s victory was Joo Saehyuk, the most experienced member of the team. He varified his defensive skills with sporadic attacks for two wins, beating both Marcos Freitas 11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 12-10 and Jon Monteiro 11-5, 10-12, 12-14, 11-7 , 11-9.

Lee Sangsu won the first point for South Korea when he defeated Jon Monteiro 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 and 12-10, while Portugal got its solo win from Tiago Apolonia who overcame Jung Youngsik 11-5, 12-10, 10-12 and 11-6.

China won its 19th men’s team title at the table tennis worlds in Toyko in 2014, beating Germany 3-1 in the final.

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